“Dirt Music” is an Australian film directed by Gregor Jordan and inspired by a 2008 short story of the same name by author Tim Winton. Gregor Jordan is an experienced Australian director, he has directed more than nineteen projects since 1995 including “Two Hands” (1995) starring Heath Ledger, “Buffalo Soldiers” (2001) starring Joaquin Phoenix and “Ned Kelly” (2003) with Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom and Naomi Watts.
The film was presented in September 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is available for streaming on several platforms including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or iTunes. It takes place in the wonderful and wild landscape of western Australia, more precisely in White Point, where nature still seems to be very present and at the heart of the local economy.
The film presents a budding romance between Lu Fox, played by Garret Hedlund, known for his role as Sam Flynn in “Tron” and Georgie Jutland played by Kelly Macdonald, who is known for her appearances in the series “Boardwalk Empire”, or in films such as “No Country For Old Men” and “Trainspotting 1 & 2”. Georgie is a former nurse, now in a relationship with Jim (played by David Wenham, Faramir in Lord of The Ring), one of the most important fishermen on the coast, a rich man, respected and feared by the locals.
The plot of the film will therefore revolve around the forbidden love relationship between Georgie and Lu. In parallel, the film traces the dark history of Lu’s family and the meeting between Jim and Georgie. Unfortunately, the writing of the film makes us feel that the first part, devoted to the meeting between Georgie and Lu, is rushed. This romance is established way too quickly, we can even have the impression that they already know each other and this does not allow us to really grasp the strength of this relationship. The rest of the film will spread out and sometimes get lost between the flashbacks.
The writing of the male characters is really very basic and unoriginal. Whether it’s Lu, a cliché of a character with a heavy and dark past, who today is plagued by turmoil and doubt. Or Jim, a cliché of a rich man, who can’t stand to be denied anything or to lack control. The photography of the film, anchored in the superb natural landscapes of western Australia, will make us enjoy superb aquatic, desert or mountainous scenes, always very wild. It’s thus one of the strong point of the film.
The performance of the actors, in spite of roles that are not very elaborate, remains very good, especially the Scottish Kelly Macdonald, who remains very interesting throughout the film. “Dirt Music” suffers from a lack of rhythm and a not very elaborate plot, but will make us travel thanks to its superb visuals. However, it will perhaps satisfy the fervent lovers of romance.
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