AACTA Film Fest | Blake Howard's Top Picks
Article by Sydney Film Fest host Blake Howard
BROTHERS’ NEST is a showcase of the breadth of talent of the brother’s Jacobson. The only similarity it has with the delightful and jovial merchant of toilet humour in KENNY is that this deeply dark film also clings to you like an inescapable stench. The influences of the Coen Brothers (especially FARGO) are felt in every breath of BROTHERS’ NEST. Clayton Jacobson’s direction is profoundly impactful and unflinching in its portrayal of violence, and crafts arresting human performances from Kim Gyngell, Lynnette Curran and Shane Jacobson whose performance as Terry is a career-best slow burn.
Director Warwick Thornton’s outback morality tale, SWEET COUNTRY, combines striking visuals of Australian landscapes with a script that entangles ideas of what this country is 'made of' and mythical justice. Thornton's commanded gaze is unflinching, creating a harsh impression of Australia’s historical reality. Featuring superbly crafted performances from seasoned icons like Bryan Brown and Sam Neill and riveting debutant Hamilton Morris; SWEET COUNTRY is an essential Australian Western.
Simon Baker charges into the director’s chair for his first feature film, adapting Tim Winton's 70s coming of age novel BREATH with dramatic intensity and confidence. With surfing photography so beautiful that it borders on spiritual ecstasy, Baker's rendering of the coastal surfing community drips with authenticity. The deeply inferred class distinctions; the hippie surfers and the rigid, conservative working class, the choice for the actors to convey their characters’ emotion, rather than expound feelings in long monologues, from someone who calls a surf-side town 'home' - feel so real that they feel like déjà vu.
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