Oz movie #28 The Furnace and #29 Dirt Music

The Furnace
Director Roderick MacKay

I want to be critical of this, but compared with most films which get financed and make it to the screen, it’s definitely worthy. As my reasons are to do with the genre and the way in which its stories are typically told, maybe they have no relevance except to me. The cinematography will make all those who think that’s sufficient for a movie happy. As the first effort by MacKay, one expects he has some good stuff for us in the offing. And it’s got a grumpy dying gold prospector – I mean David Wenham, what can’t he do? Like Babyteeth a year earlier, it premiered in Venice. I hope that bodes well for it.

For a detailed discussion setting the film in its local genre and for more on Ahmed Malek, the lead, go here and here.

Dirt Music
Gregor Jordan

This is not a Tim Winton book I’ve read, but I dashed out to buy it after the movie, just to see what went wrong. Are the flaws in the novel too? It’s on my to-read list but that gets longer, not shorter. It seems these days like we have two types of movies: the franchise ones based on special effects and the ones based on cinematography. Why those who invest enormous sums into them don’t understand that script, dialogue and story are all important – far more so than good sunset captures or CGI – is a mystery to me. But apparently the viewer in general is prepared to put up with this, so why pay on top of 50M that extra 200K for a decent writer? Let’s economise where we can. Sigh.

I can’t say I was as angry with it as one elderly gentleman at our screening who vented his rage loudly as he exited the cinema. Judging by the sentiment and the fact that he stayed to the end, I’m guessing he was a critic. Somebody panned it in the local press the next day.

I’m disappointed partly because David Wenham, as usual, is sensational. He gives everything, but I wish the movie stepped up to that. And partly because Gregor Jordan can surely do better. Even if the book was flawed, here at the movie stage, is just the chance to fix that. I was left full of regret that the Weinsteining of Jordan is something from which he may never recover.

There are a lot of Oz movies premiering just now. High Ground and Dry Run are next.



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