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Australia 1987
Directed by
Chris Thomson
90 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

The Perfectionist

Jacki Weaver and John Waters take the leads in this David Williamson-scripted adaptation of his own stage play about a middle-class marriage in upheaval. Waters is Stuart Gunn, a full-of-himself academic and Weaver his wife, who after years devoted to raising their three young children wants to expand her horizons, much to Stuart’s displeasure. This may well have worked in the context of a theatre performance but does not here, neither Williamson’s screenplay nor Chris Thomson’s direction successfully making the transition to the more naturalistic medium of film.

For a start the casting is woefully wrong. Aside from the acting, which most of the time is somewhere between awful and not-very-good, Weaver and Waters are not remotely convincing, their personalities being more suited to blue-collar, lower middle class characters. With the exception of the brief appearances by Kate Fitzpatrick as Barbara’s friend, much the same can be said of the rest of the cast with Steve Vidler as a Danish hunk being a notable offender in this respect. Williamson’s screenplay is often so didactically trite as to make one wonder if the thing is intended as parody whilst Weaver's wardrobe is so gob-smackingly awful as to make one wonder whether anyone connected with the film had the remotest idea what they were doing. Thomson, whose work has mainly been in television, is unable to get the material to gel, other than contributing some effective tracking shots, implementing the predictable narrative without imagination or flair.

DVD Extras: An introduction by Williamson, Stills gallery. Also available as part of Vol 2 of Umbrella's David Williamson collection

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment

 

 

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