John Duigan

John Duigan

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Sirens (1994) Review


Very Good
Interesting study of British social mores and their views on pornography, when Grant goes to visit a painter whose work is deemed obscene. Oh, and he's got tons of naked babes. Yeah!

Wide Sargasso Sea Review


Weak
In the same year as the masterful The Piano, Wide Sargasso Sea planted a foreign woman in a lush tropical setting and cut her loose to roll in the hay with the natives. The sexy similarities are uncanny, but Sargasso is about as uninteresting as romantic drama can get.

Starlet Karina Lombard was one of those shot-in-the-dark/outta-nowhere actresses (today's example: Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama) who made a splash in a tiny role (she was the island girl who seduced Tom Cruise in The Firm) and subsequently bit off more than she could chew in a lead role. But since Lombard has no discernable acting ability, it's almost painful to watch her try to pull off this romance. Playing a Jamaican landowner in the 1840s, she marries an import Englishman named Rochester (Nathaniel Parker) in order to maintain her status. Too bad her family's a wreck, with a crazy mother locked up in the house. Nevertheless, there's plenty of time for lots of sex -- which originally earned Sargasso an R but got it re-rated as an NC-17 for it's minutely more graphic home video release (which is one minute longer than the R version).

Continue reading: Wide Sargasso Sea Review

Head In The Clouds Review


Weak
Why anyone thought this title suitable for a complex romantic thriller I can only guess: The central character, the flighty, ravishing Gilda Bessé (Charlize Theron), has no concern for anything that limits her pleasures and, while her closest friends (and lovers) are making serious commitments in response to the threat of fascism, she maintains her socialite amusements and keeps her "head in the clouds." It seems a title borrowed from some Disney fantasy rather than applying to the wartime tragedy that is attempted here.

The daughter of a French aristocrat raised by an American mother, Cambridge University student Gilda has garnered a reputation for campus scandal. Irish born Guy (Stuart Townsend, Theron's real life squeeze), on the other hand, is a struggling student on scholarship and is of a more serious nature. So, when his Cambridge dorm door flies open one rainy night in 1933, and the notorious Gilda herself asks for shelter, his world is rocked. He sensibly makes no moves on her when she stays the night, giving her attraction to him a basis of credibility when the sex sparks fly later.

Continue reading: Head In The Clouds Review

The Year My Voice Broke Review


Very Good
Interesting and pretty, but not altogether satisfying story of the coming of age of a young Australian boy and the slightly older girl he adores (and who turns out to be a bit of a slut). Nice effort from Duigan, and a smashing introduction by Noah Taylor, who would fly so high in Shine.
John Duigan

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Head in the Clouds Movie Review

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