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Australia 1998
Directed by
Nadia Tass
100 minutes
Rated PG

1 stars

Amy (1998)

Husband and wife team, Nadia Tass (director) and David Parker (writer, DOP & producer), have some creditable projects to their name including Malcolm (1986) and The Big Steal (1990) but this joint venture is as ham-fisted as one could get and still claim professional competence. Telling the story of an 8 year-old girl who apparently has lost the ability to hear or speak after seeing her rock-star father electrocuted on stage, Tass's direction lumbers along, not only pulling out every filmic cliché that the mawkish concept affords but lingering on them with the cinematic equivalent of the large print format.

A creditable effort from poppet Alana De Roma as Amy notwithstanding, the performances from the rest of what is by Australian standards a strong cast, including Rachel Griffiths, Ben Mendelsohn, and Susie Porter are all sub-optimal (Griffiths' attempt at anguish is truly gruesome and Porter's crazy woman, an embarrassment), although Kerry Armstrong is well-suited to the lumpen wife/mother role.

Implausibility is the core of the problem. Had this been done by a Jarmusch, for instance, it might have worked as a kind of eccentric, hipster comedy. Unfortunately the makers seem to opt for dramatic realism (including a bizarre onstage electrocution) but never at any stage manage to make the characters or situations seem credible and, even worse, they throw in some misguided attempts at humour (for instance, the scenes involving the DHS drones) and in its later stages push the film into Jacques Demy territory with, at best, risible results. Leaving no stone unturned in the ill-judged department, the production design makes the film look 1980s rather than 90s and the editing is well below-par.

Clearly-made with an eye to small-screen sales, Amy is strictly for the uncritical.




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