Thursday, July 16, 2020

Movie with Abe: Dirt Music

Dirt Music
Directed by Gregor Jordan
Released July 17, 2020 (VOD)

People don’t always get the romances they want or deserve. Many cultures still prescribe spouses for their children, and those who are married have no choice in who they want to spend their lives with and how or if they want to start a family. Those who are able to select their own partners may feel pressured by society or events such as an unplanned pregnancy or major geographical move and end up regretting what they initially thought was a good idea. Not everyone has the power to change their fate, but some still try to change course when they realize that there may be something else out there for them.

Georgie (Kelly Macdonald) lives in western Australia, struggling to find purpose after trading in her career as a nurse to be with a local fisherman kingpin, Jim (David Wenham), and his two young children. Having grown distant from the magnate more concerned with his own productivity than her happiness, she is drawn to Lu (Garrett Hedlund), a former dirt musician who now works as a poacher. Georgie sees something appealing and revitalizing in Lu, and her pursuit of a relationship with him enables her to learn important things about their intertwining histories as he feels compelled to run from his own past.

This film is based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Tim Winton. One cinematic device that is strongly conveyed here is the visual representation of Georgie’s surroundings. Her view of the ocean is magnificent, and the island countryside that is shown is beautiful. Her first sighting of Lu comes when she is swimming early in the morning, and it is enhanced by the glory of the backdrop she sees around her. This love story is assisted in a crucial way by the place where it is set, especially when Lu flees the devastation he has experienced and seeks refuge in an unfamiliar place whose terrain and sheer magnitude are positively disorienting.

Macdonald, a Scottish actress, and Hedlund, an American actor, don Australian accents to play the two wishful halves of this would-be couple. Both are skilled actors who have performed in many international projects, and they bring a muted, pining passion to their characters that makes them effective if admittedly unenthusiastic anchors. Wenham offers a complex portrait of a man who isn’t entirely a villain but certainly hasn’t done much to redeem himself. This film’s music and representation of its protagonists’ most defining moments are its strong points, woven together with marvelous scenery to create a decently intoxicating if not entirely fulfilling romance.


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