Paul Cox’s 1989 drama is about three emblematic women on a Greek island brought together by tragedy. I began to doubt I was in for a good time when I realised the only sympathetic man on the scene was a deaf-mute peasant.Unfortunately, Island has an underdeveloped script. There are long flat patches with nothing but local colour to occupy us. These semi-documentary and improvised passages are sometimes interminable, and jar with the fictional melodrama. The interruptions also killed what interest I had in the women’s story.
My failure to engage was not helped by Eva Sitta’s tepid performance in the pivotal role of Czech-Australian Eva. Chris Haywood’s deaf-mute Greek labourer struck me as mugging of the highest order, and only the great Irene Papas managed to hold the screen in scripted and improvised passages alike.Despite Michael Edols’ colourful and exotic photography, I soon felt as trapped on this island as some of the characters.