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Friday, 2 December 2005

Little Fish

If ever a film was crushed by the burden of big expectations, Little Fish is it. Directed by Rowan Woods (his first film since The Boys), and with Cate Blanchett (in her first local effort in years) heading up an all-star cast, this had hit written all over it. So what went wrong? Well, for a film that's beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and has some really impressive sound design, it seems kind of strange that no-one ever asked if an audience really wanted to sit through a half-hour story dragged out to close to two hours. Basically ex-junkie Tracey Heart (Blanchett) wants to start her own business in Sydney's Vietnamese west but she can't get a loan. She hangs out with her mum's ex (Hugo Weaving), her brother (Martin Henderson) acts dodgy, her old boyfriend (21 Jump Street's Dustin Nguyen) returns after years away and wanders around a bit, and a retiring crime figure (Sam Neill) wonders what his right-hand man is up to. Sure, it's important for a movie to have interesting characters - and no-one here is boring - but they eventually have to do interesting things and that's where this falls down. Little Fish is yet another arty character study, and we just don't need any more right now.

Anthony Morris

(this review appeared in Forte#358)

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