Monday, 30 November 2015

Review: The Dressmaker

World of Blackout Film Review

The Dressmaker Poster

The Dressmaker
Cert: 12A / 118 mins / Dir. Jocelyn Moorhouse / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

This film, (this 12A certificated film) was preceded by not one, but two separate adverts for gin. Never let it be said that either Entertainment Film Distributors nor Digital Cinema Media don't know their intended audience…

Kate Winslet stars in The Dressmaker as Myrtle 'Tilly' Dunnage, a fashion designer who returns unannounced to the dilapidated home-town she was removed from as a child, looking for answers, connections and perhaps a little bit of revenge. Director Jocelyn Moorhouse captures the claustrophobia, paranoia and squalor of the film's sole setting with suffocating glee, and with the screenplay's humour shining through the blackest moments. However, the film seems torn between wanting to be funny and meaningful. It's not that there's any reason it can't be both, it just has issues balancing them.

Winslet is great in the film's lead role, but it's really Judy Davis as her eccentric mother who steals the show in terms of both performance and character development. And I'll go on record now as saying that Hugo Weaving is nothing short of fucking magnificent in this film.

The Dressmaker is far better at being a genuinely quirky indie-comedy than it is a homecoming melodrama. And although it ploughs both furrows with equal earnestness, the screenplay never quite manages to merge them successfully. With an alarmingly high body-count for a 12A movie set in rural Australia and featuring no firearms, the humorous vein is far more interesting than the ponderous one of poetic justice.

But fair play for the references to X-Men, Pet Cemetary and The Empire Strikes Back. There aren't many films set in the 1951 Australian outback that would manage those so seamlessly…

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
For the right audience, yes.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Sunday night, bottle of wine, sorted.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
For Kate Winslet, not really.
But I'll be amazed if Hugo Weaving doesn't get some major props…

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I think it does, it's just not a thing which was aimed at me in any way.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Well, Hugo Weaving appeared in those Matrix movies, of course, one of which starred fellow Aussie Bruce Spence; Tion Medon from out of Revenge Of The Sith.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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