Monday, November 03, 2014


1982, Australia, directed by Phillip Noyce

Like Noyce's earlier Newsfront, this is strong on ideas but not always entirely convincing in execution, partly on this occasion because of the imbalance in acting talent: Judy Davis is a formidable performer cast in a no-nonsense role, and pairing her with the rather pallid Richard Moir in a milquetoast part was always going to be a tricky marriage. In addition, Davis's story, as a journalist/activist in the complex political terrain of a major Sydney building project, is a good deal more interesting than the moral qualms that Moir navigates, although that narrative does give some additional insight into the shadings of grey attendant on any politically sensitive undertaking. Visually, Noyce does a fine job -- the very striking scene when Moir drives to the scene of a fire is a good example -- with his camera doing a good deal of quite mobile work that serves to accentuate the overall thriller vibe. I also liked the sense of connections only partially made, to ensure that the viewer remained an active participant; in an interview Noyce remarked on this as something characteristic of the time in which it was made, and that he'd probably be asked to make things a good deal more emphatic if he made a similar story now. 

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