MIFF Review: The Eye of the Storm (2011)

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As my MIFF intentions project continues, I have finally gotten around to writing up last Saturday nights world premiere of The Eye of the Storm. After 22 years, Fred Schepisi makes his return to Australian with an adaptation of the Patrick White novel. Acting heavyweights Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling lead the charge as the affluent but troubled family.

Elizabeth Hunter is dying. Her two children (Basil and Dorothy) come back to Australia to see their dying mother for the last time and perhaps for some ulterior motives. Despite her senility, Elizabeth is very much in control of her life, and dominates her intimidated children.

Triple threats!

Charlotte Rampling gives a fine performance as the dying matriarch, and shines best in the flashbacks to the much talked about storm. Geoffrey Rush blinks through his scenes with impermeable ease. If anything, his presence in the film feels partially underused. Supporting players Alexandra Schepisi and Helen Morse provide ample support, but it is the marvellous Judy Davis that steals the show.

Dominated by a seminal moment in her past, Dorothy (who ran away to France to become a Princess) continues to struggle between the love and the loathing she feels for her mother. When we flashback to the seminal moment before the storm, all becomes clear why Dorothy possesses such pressure.

Through Davis’ character, moments in our youth are shown as the ultimate dominating moments that influence and shape the rest of our lives. The damage that parents can have over their children is wildly evident.

I really could go on and on regarding the effects the film has through its plot. Despite this breath of talking points, I did find the film slow at points. Its strengths were best seen in the flashback scenes, first exposed in the terrific opening scene. I would have loved to have seen more flashbacks and less spent on setting up exposition, as not too much was revealed anyway.

I do look forward to catching this film again in its theatrical release later this year, as I definitely have much more to say without the constrains of mini reviews!

The Eye of the Storm had its world premiere at MIFF on Saturday 23rd at 6.30pm and will be released on September 15 through Transmission Films.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/24902426 w=400&h=220]

The Eye Of The Storm Trailer from Transmission Films on Vimeo.

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