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To Have and To Hold (John Hillcoat, 1997) aka The Small Man; Rachel Griffiths, Tcheky Karyo, Steve Jacobs, Anni Finsterer, David Field; broadcast on Channel 9, 19 December 2001
Hillcoat makes tough films; this one is Cave-free; Griffiths at her best. Only fictional feature set in New Guinea? No, there's also Walk Into Paradise (Lee Robinson & Giorgio Pagliero, 1956).
... At first, the pace moves too quickly - rushing confusingly through its opening 10 minutes - then it simply becomes laboured, dragging instead of racing towards its conclusion. Though both Tchéky Karyo and Rachel Griffiths are fine in the lead roles, their characters aren’t given enough depth, so we never discover why Jack became so obsessed with Rose, or why Kate persists with him for so long instead of returning home. But if you can overlook these issues, there is still much to admire, particularly the feverish, isolated atmosphere and the intriguing influence of the past over the present. Perhaps it lacks the moral driving-force of Hillcoat’s later film, but To Have And To Hold remains a proposition worth taking a chance on. eyeforfilm.co.uk.
... While the thematic structure of To Have and To Hold works, the story sadly doesn’t. Borrowing from Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Hillcoat shows Jack as a man obsesses with his late wife, so traumatized by her death, that he wants to turn any woman, here Kate, into Rose. The story does not invest enough time neither in depth of character nor in making a connection between character and viewer. The story seems more like an exercise in theme and being told for its own sake. The end result is, that the viewer is estranged by the story and some of its characters, and To Have and To Hold becomes a movie far more interesting in discussion than to watch. dvdbeaver.com.
Garry Gillard | New: 23 November, 2012 | Now: 14 March, 2021