Different type of film for both Garrett Hedlund and Kelly Macdonald. Different kind of romance. Nothing really typical about Dirt Music. It forges its own path instead of voyaging down the worn out romantic film one.
Set in a part of Australia I have not seen very often in film. Beautiful! Sparse, but still lovely to look at. Loads of sand, browns and greens. Definitely a treat for the eyes and cinematographer Sam Chiplin (The Lines) certainly brings out all the raw beauty.
Based on the well received novel by Tim Winton (Breath) and directed by Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly, Buffalo Soldiers), it is a story which melds together equal parts love and pain. Often the two working together make for the most interesting films.
Existing in a loveless relationship, 40-year-old Georgie (Kelly Macdonald – No Country for Old Men, Brave) is just moving through life instead of living it. Comfortable financially living in a beautiful home in their coastal small town of White Point as her partner is local fishing baron Jim (David Wenham – 300, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KIng), but they certainly aren’t connecting anymore.
While out on the beach for a late night solo swim Georgie runs into poacher fisherman Lu Fox (Garrett Hedlund – Mudbound, Unbroken). After the initial meeting, Georgie and Lu run into each other on a deserted part of road when her car breaks down. Lu helps her. The attraction between the two is obvious.
Soon the older woman and younger man are involved in a passionate love affair. But since it is a small town which Jim pretty much runs, word gets around. Plus there is the history between the Fox family and Jim’s which comes into play. For his infringing on Jim’s “property”, Lu gets a proper beating.
It all seems like too much for Lu and he takes off to north to the remote Coronation Island without telling Georgie. There he is working through all the demons which seem to possess him. She is soon after him trying to figure out where he is before things become too perilous for Lu.
For once the fact that women feel lust is shown onscreen. Does not happen very often. About time! That aspect of the film is aided greatly by the scintillating chemistry between Macdonald and Hedlund. Electricity comes off the screen when they are together.
While the story is rather a strange and strained one, it is the performances by the two leads which rescues the film. Some of the situations in the film are ridiculous (like why has Georgie stayed with a man she doesn’t love and does not seem to love her?) and the dialogue is often bumbling or downright cheesy. A film with obvious limits in which the performances render it watchable.