Australasian Cinema > films > Storm Boy, 2019

Storm Boy

storm boyStorm Boy (Shawn Seet, 2019) wr. Justin Monjo, prod. Michael Boughen, Matthew Street, dp Bruce Young; Geoffrey Rush, Jai Courtney, Finn Little, Trevor Jamieson, Morgana Davies; SA

Seet, a highly regarded TV and miniseries director whose previous feature was the underrated Two Fists, One Heart (2008), and writer Justin Monjo (Jungle), elegantly weave details of Storm Boy and Hideaway Tom’s tragic past into the tale. Themes of loss, grief and separation are pitched at just the right level to resonate with children and adults alike. Seet brings everything to a moving and meaningful conclusion with a lovely piece of magic realism.
Handsomely filmed in earthy tones by DP Bruce Young, and never once looking like a tourism promo reel, Storm Boy is crafted with care and class. Richard Kuipers, Variety.

'Not even a beloved pelican can save this epic downer'. Seet and the cinematographer Bruce Young ... indulge in fish-eye style compositions, with blurry edges that evoke a dreamy past. That past involves Kingley as a child (the fresh-faced Finn Little, who has great presence) living on Ninety Mile beach with his father Tom (Jai Courtney, delivering a fine performance as a reserved but not unemotional man). ... Safran’s film looked up to the skies, evoking the wonderful flying creature as a symbol of eternal beauty, its wings flapping in hearts and minds as much as in the universe. But in the new film, by literally creating a bust of the bird – as if a clump of stone or plaster could compare with the natural majesty of wings and feathers – the meaning has been accidentally inverted: a story about how something can never die becomes about how it will never live again. Luke Buckmaster.

I responded to the film more like Richard Kuipers than Luke Buckmaster. I had the latter's review in mind as I watched the film, but did not see how he came to the conclusion he did.

I was also thinking as I watched that this is probably the last film in which Geoffrey Rush will ever appear, which is a shame because 1. his punishment was far in excess of his 'crime', and 2. he doesn't give a good performance. Whenever he was on screen I was thinking about his small eyes - and all that skin hanging over them. I assume that he took the role for pocket money despite it being a very ordinary story - and also that Shawn Seet is a director below the standard of those with whom he is used to working in the theatre.

Setting all that aside: it's a charming film, not much better or worse than the first one. It didn't really need to be made again, but it's nice to have it in the archive.

Oh ... I just thought of one huge difference, which should have been the main thing to which I drew attention. Trevor Jamieson is splendid in his version of Fingerbone Bill, but no-one will ever replace the authority of David Gulpilil in the original.

Garry Gillard | New: 21 January, 2019 | Now: 4 October, 2019