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Salvation (Paul Cox, 2007) Natalia Novikova, Bruce Myles, Wendy Hughes, Kim Gyngell, Alex Menglet, Richard Piper, Maggie Miles, Chris Haywood, Terry Norris, Bud Tingwell, Julia Blake, Deidre Rubenstein, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Rodney Afif, Loene Carmen, Hamish Michael, Barry Humphries

Andrew L. Urban:
True to his creative, eccentric and mischievous self, Paul Cox has made another film in which he spins a web of man's own doing, a wry, acidic tale that unmasks televangelists as fakes and moral dwarfs. None too subtly, he puts a single mother forced into prostitution as the device with which to unseat the self-delusional Gloria (Wendy Hughes) and her long-suffering husband, biblical scholar, Barry (Bruce Myles).
Natalia Novakova plays Irina, the Russian migrant working for Melbourne crim Anton (Alex Menglet) as a prostitute, sending money home for her mother and little daughter. Novakova creates a sympathetic and average young woman, whose world is proscribed by her circumstances. Gloria and Barry have a choice - and we see what they do with it. Behind the mask of saving souls is a cynical franchise operation and money is just as welcome here as in any other household. To make things even more pointed, Cox gives their marriage a fa├žade of sham.
Hughes is great in this uncharacteristic role, and Bruce Myles distinguishes himself as the man who finds a path away from God, but not away from humanity. Kim Gyngell delivers a terrific Tony, Gloria's ultra-dry accompanist, travelling companion and tv producer.
For good measure, Cox drags in Barry Humphries to play an entertaining cameo of a massage client, confessing to Irina that he's due back at the nursing home ... Other Cox regulars, here in smaller roles, include Chris Haywood as an architect, Aden Young (who doubles on editing duties) as a tv commercial character, Terry Norris as an art gallery guide and Bud Tingwell as a Christian bigot.
Although serious in intent, Cox is keen to put a smile on our face with Salvation, and manages just that with a wicked ending. Andrew L. Urban, urbancinefile.

Garry Gillard | New: 28 June, 2020 | Now: 11 January, 2023