Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for The Turning

Australia,  2013
Running Time: 178 minutes






("Small Mercies")

(segment "Boner McPharlin's Moll")


("Damaged Goods")

(segment "The Turning")


("On Her Knees")



("Big World")

("Ash Wednesday")

("Long, Clear View")

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh, Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, Susie Porter
Cinematography: Denson Baker, John Brawley, Stefan Duscio, Robert Humphreys, Jeremy Rouse, Miles Rowland, Warwick Thornton

Tim Winton’s bestselling book of seventeen short stories is not something most people would see as being an obvious choice for adapting to the big screen.  Robert Connolly is not most people, and he has gathered together an enviable list of Australian cinema talent to put together this compilation film.

Each of the seventeen stories has been made into a short film by a different director, and the result is, as you might expect, mixed.  The book, set mainly on the Western Australian coast, is populated by damaged people.  Alcoholism runs through the stories, as does abuse of both women and children.  But there are also undercurrents of hope and salvation and spiritual awakening that will pull the desperate characters out of the world they currently wallow in.  The tone of the film follows that of the book – melancholy and yearning.

As with most compilations, not all offerings are equal.  Ones that stood out especially for me were Sand, in which two brothers engage in a dangerous game on the beach while the adults fish, oblivious to how easily they could have lost a son, and On Her Knees in which a cleaning woman deals with being wrongfully dismissed with uncanny dignity and passes a valuable lesson on to her son.  I also very much enjoyed the experimental dance piece, Immunity, and the title story, The Turning, in which an abused wife living in a trailer park has her life turned around by befriending a born-again Christian.

The collection is a veritable who’s who of Australian talent both established and up-and-coming.  While the three-hour running time is intimidating, for the most part, the stories are so engrossing, you barely notice the time ticking by.


  1. I've heard of some other compilation films (horror ones) that were also mixed bags, but except for "Trilogy of Terror" and "Creepshow" old horror classics, I've never seen a compilation. But at least you know they're short, so if one isn't appealing, it'll be over quickly! lol

  2. I'll definitely have to see that at some point...

  3. Ok, I'm basically taking your entire A to Z post collection and turning them into my 'to see' list.

  4. Can't even imagine a movie with that many stories but I guess everything is possible!

  5. Short stories on the big screen, sounds cool. I might check that out just to see how it works.