Monday, 18 February 2013

REVIEW - THE EYE OF THE STORM


This is a deceitful film. The filmmakers aren't being frank with their audience. They want us to believe that this is a story of a wealthy, ill, elderly Australian woman whose two grown children have flown in from Europe to bear with her as she approaches her end. And this is, indeed, what happens in The Eye of the Storm. But, in fact, this is a story of a great (or, perhaps, rather small) folly, an attempt to create a grand, monumental work of cinematic art, a project of immense and wholly misplaced ambition. Mere moments in, the central characters are revealed to be vapid, crass regurgitations of literary tropes (this is an adaptation of a novel), their dialogue so mannered that it surely can't be the produce of spontaneous thought - it must be the produce of hours of consideration, and a most thorough perusal of a thesaurus. These people can only be interpreted as actors, and watching actors play actors is rarely pleasant, lest the film be a comedy; The Eye of the Storm is not a comedy, because timeless masterpieces can never be comedies. Dreary scene after dreary scene lolls on screen until the credits appear, and no profound insight into the human condition has been offered up, no significant emotional course has been undertaken - we're still where we started, resenting these tired, affected figures and every word they so precisely articulate. Judy Davis has been playing this role for years, so if you're a fan, you ought to watch anything else of hers; Charlotte Rampling still has a charming youthfulness about her, and tries her best, but this material is beyond even the best of the best performers. I suppose that was the intention - not even actors these great are worthy of such fine writing! A slog from first to last.