Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Beautiful (2009)

Writer/Dir: Dean O'Flaherty - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Sebastian Gregory, Tahyna Tozzi, Peta Wilson, Aaron Jeffery, Erik Thomson, Asher Keddie, Socratis Otto, Deborra-Lee Furness
Australia, 2009

Reason to see: Really enjoying Australian thrillers lately

We've been seeing lots of great Australian thrillers recently, and the track record keeps going strong with Beautiful. Set in a suburban community where something seems to be amiss, and the neighbours talk a lot to themselves but keep away from each other, it takes the curiosity of young Danny (Sebastian Gregory) along with temptation from his sexy neighbour Suzy (Tahyna Tozzi) to start sleuthing for the truth.

Beautiful plays the greys of relationships into brilliant and rich vividness. We are continually wondering about who every one is, and what their motivation is during the film which is great as it keeps you on your toes in this seemingly perfect but obviously off kilter neighbourhood. The dynamic between the young teen Danny & older teen Suzy is perfect with playing with that edge between boundaries of what's innocent, and what's not. The tension is pitch perfect for clouding judgments on several levels here.

One of the highlights of the film, and a real key part of thrillers, is how much tells you in tone even if certain moments or relationships aren't clearly defined. I loved this, because you always had a sense of what was going on, but still were unsure, but still wanted to know more. It really keeps you as a viewer, very interested and engaged through the entire film. Other highlights include two really stand out performance: Peta Wilson as Sherrie, who is captivating ever moment she is on scene and Socratis Otto is absolutely sensational as the Max, the intensity and subtle but vast range that he puts in the character is brilliant.

Overall, Beautiful is beautiful - beautifully shot, scored and acted. It's nice to see a thriller that is so visually gorgeous and have that contrasted against the dark events and general tone of unease. It's a wild combination but one that works really well.

DVD Extras:
  • The Beautiful Vision (14 minutes) A behind the scenes documentary with interviews with writer/director Dean O'Flaherty, actors Tahyna Tozzi (Suzy), Socratis Otto (Max), Production Designer Robert Webb and composer Paul Mac. Nicely put together documentary that discusses casting and character development, goes through the creation of the music, and lots of fun behinds the scenes footage including testing out some of the special effects.
  • Deleted Scenes (6 scenes, 10 minutes total) I really enjoyed watching the deleted scenes, there is an especially good scene between Danny & Sherrie that is quite enlightening although it's very long and converstional so I can understand why it was cut. Although not marked as such, one of the scenes appears to be an alternate ending.

Beautiful was released on DVD on June 29, 2010 as is available on Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it fans of thrillers & dramas

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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