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Film Reviews: Martian, Cut Snake, Everest and The Walk

This month we head into the cinema to take a look at ‘Everest’, ‘Martian’, ‘The Walk’ and new Australian feature ‘Cut Snake’.

Everest

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Everest  (M)
Directed by Baltasar Kormakur

Ever wanted to spend two hours on Mt Everest? This means climbing to the cruising altitude of a 747 airplane and battling hypothermia and hypoxia as well as the occasional avalanche and blinding blizzard. While many people climb My Everest ‘because it’s there’, I can highly recommend seeing this film instead. Based on the book ‘Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer, it recreates the true events of 1996 when a guided ascent of the world’s highest mountain went disastrously wrong. The mountain was crowded with climbers all waiting for the narrow window to make the final ascent. The audience is with Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) as he leads his group – and the suspense is breath-taking as we know that not all of the climbers will survive. Expansive shots of the formidable white landscape are interspersed with close-ups of people gasping for breath as they struggle against the bitter wind for footholds in the ice.

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Cut Snake  (MA)
Directed by Tony Ayres

Set in Melbourne in the mid-seventies, young Sparra (Alex Russell) is making a life for himself after being in prison. He has a house in an idyllic country setting, a fiancée Paula (Jessica Gouw) from a wealthy family, a job and plans for the future. But all this is put in jeopardy when his former cell mate Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) is released from prison and turns up on his doorstep. This is an interesting, almost hypnotic, drama by gay director Tony Ayres. The seething tension between the boyishly good looking Sparra and the intensely charismatic Pommie can’t be ignored. As Paula and Pommie battle for Sparra’s affections, the level of violence escalates dangerously and Sparra is forced to make a choice about his sexuality. This film is sure to stir up the debates about how much control we actually have over our lives in matters such as personality traits, sexuality and even life choices.


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Martian

Martian  (PG)

Directed by Ridley Scott

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind as the rest of his crew return to earth. Stranded on the hostile red planet, botanist Mark works his way through the survival manual and has plenty of time to use his ingenuity before those back on earth are aware that he is still alive. Rescue missions are discussed, launched and fail but Watney remains generally upbeat. Following the character in Andy Weir’s novel by the same name, he entertains himself and keeps a video diary that is full of funny quips. The seventies music left behind by his colleagues becomes the soundtrack as Watney ambles around the stunning red expanse – made even more realistic by seeing the film in 3D. As well as a star-studded cast, the science is quite interesting and the last half hour of the film is a full assault on the senses.

The Walk

The Walk  (PG)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

In 1974, Frenchman Phillip Petit was crazy enough to string a cable between the newly completed World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York and walk across the 400 metre high void. It’s a simple tale, but so many things could and did go wrong for this never to be repeated feat. Joseph Gordon-Levitt actually trained with Phillip Petit to portray him when he was the 25 year old daredevil. The film recreates the feat that was the subject of James Marsh’s 2008 documentary ‘Man on Wire’ but with one important difference. The fact that we know he didn’t die makes absolutely no difference when the photorealistic 3D cinematography puts you on the wire among the clouds. Petit actually stayed on the wire for 45 minutes and the extended wire sequence in the film is so excruciating that even those who are generally not afraid of heights will have perspiration dripping from their palms.

Lezly Herbert

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