I was too hot during this week’s film, so this may have had an impact on my mood. It seems the price you pay for trying to be pretentious and going to art house cinemas is a lack of air conditioning. So maybe it’s best to bear this in mind when you’re reading the rest of my review.
Little Fish is an Aussie film about a recovering heroin addict. It’s my second Australian film of the week, having watched the excellent Chopper (found at a bargain £2.98 in a DVD sale) at the weekend.
But back to Little Fish. You can’t fault the acting. Cate Blanchett breezes through as Tracy, her angst sketched out on her skeletal face, proving her rank as a top actress. A heavily bearded Hugo Weaving breaks free of Agent Smith and portrays a retired footie star, utterly dependant on drugs and slowly wasting away. And Noni Hazelhurst captures the mother figure perfectly; her worry, frustration and love etched on to her face as she is unable to protect her children from the big wide world. And heroin.
The ties between the characters and various events in their past are all slowly realised over the course of the film, building up solid characters with plenty of background. But here’s where the main problem lies. Imagine, if you will, that someone starts leading you somewhere, handing you various bits of cutlery along the way. There are all different types of cutlery, so you make sure you keep them all separate and remember which one’s which. Then, at the end, you are presented with a cup of tepid water and a straw. “What exactly was the need for all this cutlery,” you might ask. “After all that effort it wasn’t used at all. There was no point to the cutlery.” And the other person would just shrug.
Replace the cutlery with the character detail, and the water with the ending, and you get why I was a bit annoyed with this film. Lots of slow build-up, then just a big fizzle at the end. As an example of its impact on me, I’d actually much rather review Chopper instead. In fact, sod it. I will.
Chopper was made in 2000 and is about real life criminal/writer Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read. It mixes shockingly brutal moments of violence with some belting humour (on being stabbed by his best mate, Chopper’s loyal defence is; ‘It’s no big deal. It’s like… if your mum stabbed you.’) Eric Bana plays the fascinating character of Chopper to perfection, highlighted especially once you’ve watched the DVD extras including interviews with the real-life man. A terrifying temper mixed with narcissistic tendencies and a cracking sense of humour makes a perfect front-man. Throw in some innovative directing techniques and you’ve got a smashing piece of film, as long as you’re ok with watching a man willingly have his ears cut off.
Little Fish was well acted, but long and, quite frankly, boring. It loses one CF point for failing to engage me, thus making CF -1. Chopper, on the other hand, gains an extra point for thoroughly engaging me, and another point purely for Eric Bana (my already high opinion of him has increased significantly since seeing this performance.) It therefore makes CF2. The fact that this review has been hi-jacked by a £2.98 DVD I saw four days ago only serves to highlight how insignificant I found this week’s film. Little Fish? More like one of those single cell organisms at the very depths of the sea.