Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Celebrated British-born actress Rachel Ward (The Thorn Birds, Against All Odds) makes her feature directorial debut with this unique and occasionally provocative drama, featuring longtime husband Bryan Brown and produced in Brown's native Australia. A loose adaptation of the 1982 novel by Newton Thornburg (Cutter's Way), it transposes the events of that roman from Chicago to an Australian farm. Ben Mendelsohn stars as Ned Kendall, a fortyish author who takes his young, slightly uncouth girlfriend, Toni (Maeve Dermody) along to visit his dying father, Bruce (Brown) a failed politician and farmer now cared for by daughter Sally (Rachel Griffiths) on the clan's Aussie property. The relationship between Ned and Bruce remains supremely dysfunctional, as father constantly berates and pushes his son; the focal points of their conflicts spring from the teenage death of Ned's twin sister Kate (Sophie Lowe) and the suicide of his older brother Cliff (Josh McFarlane). After Toni and Sally each storm out of the home in a nasty huff, director Ward intercuts two parallel narratives: the circumstances (including Kate's insatiable sexual curiosity during adolescence) that once led to the family's two tragic losses, and, in a contemporary framework, the delicate steps that Bruce and Ned begin to take toward reconciliation, in the period immediately preceding Bruce's death.
death, dysfunctional, father, girlfriend, sister, suicide, writer
High Artistic Quality