Film Review – Dirt Music

Dirt Music (M)

Directed by: Gregor Jordan

Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Garret Hedlund, David Wenham

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Beloved WA author Tim Winton’s novel gets the big screen treatment in the beautifully filmed but emotionally distant Dirt Music.

Free spirit Georgie (Kelly Macdonald) finds herself at 40 and in a loveless relationship with fisherman Jim (David Wenham) in a sleepy seaside town.

When she crosses paths with mysterious poacher Lu Fox (Garret Hedlund) and the two strike up a passionate affair, it sets off a chain of events that will either drive them apart or bring them closer together.

This book adaptation sumptuously filmed in some of Western Australia’s most beautifully stark locations is a slow-moving, moody piece that those looking for a heartwarming good time may want to catch another day.

The atmosphere is oppressive with every main character fighting inner torment as they deal with the grief over losing a loved one, or loved ones. It is a striking contrast with the jaw-droppingly gorgeous and scenic landscape.

And while there is nothing wrong with a film that wants to deal exclusively in moody atmospherics (this cynical David Fincher-loving reviewer often leans towards them), there is not enough groundwork laid for us to connect with these characters.

Keeping things vague, it is never digs deep enough as to why Georgie and Lu are drawn to each other. As their relationship finally dissolves, Georgie says to Jim “I can’t do unhappy” and yet chases after a deeply depressed and grieving man with suicidal tendencies.

It becomes as much a mystery of motivations as it is a love story between these two outsiders.

The cast is good with the two non-Australian leads doing their best with the always hard to nail Aussie accent, but the highlight really is the locations shot in the widescreen format.

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