Called upon to investigate the disappearance of a young schoolgirl named Rowan Morrison, Sgt. Howie finds stubborn, tight-lipped resistance from the local islanders, who carry about their business unmindful of his single-minded detective work. More often than not, they treat him with bemused detachment, laughing into their drinks or simply ignoring him altogether as he marches through the rustic schoolyards, dingy inns, and lush green hills. The locations, filmed in the highlands of Scotland, possess the eerie, musty, ever-haunted quality of an Old Country worn down by time. If there is a central character in The Wicker Man, it's the timeless elements of rock and water, moss and faded wood that comprise the town squares. Sgt. Howie, a man from the city, is clearly out of his depth.
Continue reading: The Wicker Man (1973) Review
Heavy stuff, and though most of the based-on-a-play Morant plays out in holding cells and the courtroom, as a court martial determines the guilt of Morant and two of his compatriots (including Brian Brown in an early role), it's still compelling and fascinating stuff. Morant is a genuine bastard, but he's just following orders and trying to win a war. It's the same argument that we'd see in umpteen Nazi films (and understanding the intricacies of the Boer conflict is probably a fool's errand), but Woodward's Morant makes for a troubling and complex anti-hero. He's aided amicably by Jack Thompson, playing the three lieutenants' good-hearted but ultimately ineffective attorney. (Also of note, this film was director Bruce Beresford's big break. He'd come to Hollywood shortly after Morant hit.)
Continue reading: 'Breaker' Morant Review