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Acute Misfortune

Australia 2018
produced by
Jamie Houge, Virginia Kay, Liz Kearney, Thomas M. Wright, Robert Connolly (executive) for Arenamedia, Plot Media, Blackheath Film
directed by Thomas M. Wright
starring Daniel Henshall, Toby Wallace, Geneviève Lemon, Max Cullen, Gillian Jones, Steve Mouzakis, Henry Beckett, James Bell, Daniel Aguiar, Rowland Holmes, Joanne Samuel
screenplay by Erik Jensen, Thomas M. Wright, based on the book Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen, music by Evelyn Ida Morris

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Not yet 20, journalist Erik (Toby Wallace) is given the opportunity to interview Adam Cullen (Daniel Henshall), one of Australia's more prominent contemporary artists. And he seems to have gone a good job, as Adam calls him back to write his biography. This involves Eric spending his weekends at Cullen's home with the intention of getting to know Cullen - but it really seems that Cullen more wants someone to play with, as he just likes to shock Erik, teaching him how to fire guns, taking him on surprise hunting trips and the like. But Cullen's behaviour gets more and more dangerous, which includes heavy drinking and drug use, and illegally collecting guns. And he makes Erik a part of this aspect of his life. On the other hand, he doesn't want Erik to talk to others about him, including his parents (Geneviève Lemon, Max Cullen), fearing that they might distort the image of himself he wants Erik to portray. Needless to say, their relationship becomes more and more abusive, until Cullen pushes things too far, causing a split between the two men, soon after which Erik finds out there never was a book deal for Cullen's bio that Cullen has always promised him.

Eventually, the two reconcile, and while Cullen still tries to play the same mindgames with Erik, it becomes clearer and clearer that he's just a lonely man with failing health ...

 

A rather fascinating bio pic that doesn't focus too much on Adam Cullen's actual art (which is shown more as a side note in this film) or really his process of creating, but concentrates on the dramatic aspects of his life during his times with his biographer (also the co-screenwriter), and manages to span a narrative arc that gives its characters plenty of space to evolve by not just leading the audience from one plot point to the next but often only hinting at things and hiding much of its subtext between the lines - which makes this one a rather unique ride.

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD