Matching Jack

Matching Jack (Nadia Tass, 2010) aka Love and Mortar (working title); dp David Parker; Jacinda Barrett, Richard Roxburgh, Tom Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Colin Friels, Julia Blake; family melodrama

This was screened at a number of festivals, suggesting that the filmmakers or at least distributors thought it at least a quality flick, if not an art movie. It's neither. It's like a telemovie, despite cinematic production values, including good work by cinematographer David Parker, and the presence of Richard Roxburgh and even Colin Friels briefly, and Julia Blake.

It's about a couple of kids with leukaemia and the search by the mother (Jacinda Barrett) of one of them to find a familial match (whence the title) so that he can have a bone marrow transplant. (Meanwhile the other one dies. Cheerful stuff.) It's a long search because the philandering father (RR) may have inseminated many other mothers in his many affairs.

Roxburgh looks like he doesn't have the energy to raise a glass, let alone an erection. His heart wasn't in this. The other father, however (James Nesbitt), acts everyone else off the screen. Mind you, he does have a (too) colourful character to play with, while RR hardly has a decent line to say. The real failure, tho, is Jacinda Barrett as the mother central character. Her acting is as plain as her looks: she looks like she's already bored with the second series, and didn't enjoy the first one much.

Tom Russell is just some kid, while Kodi Smit-McPhee shows once again that cute child actors don't necessarily get better (/looking) as they get older. He was memorable in Romulus My Father, and I spose he is here too, tho not for the right reasons.

Interesting parallel between the two boys, in that they've both been in two-handers with particularly powerful adult actors. Smit-M was in The Road with Viggo Mortensen, while TR was in Last Ride with Hugo Weaving. They must have had some stories to swap on this set.


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