ABR Arts Film

Under the Skin

Dion Kagan
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

U nder the Skin is adapted from Michael Faber’s eponymous speculative fiction novel (2000) in which an alien disguised as an attractive woman hunts hitchhikers in the Scottish highlands. Once she has determined that a man is appropriate prey, she drugs him and delivers him to a subterranean abattoir hidden beneath a farm where, in a disturbing allegorisatio ...

The Invisible Woman

Jake Wilson
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Orson Welles once described himself as a ‘king’ actor. Ralph Fiennes seems born to play dukes: nearly all his screen characters, even the crooks and madmen, share an imperious quality that goes with a kind of stony reticence. It felt natural that he should make his film directorial début with an adaptation of Coriolanus (2011), one of Shakespeare’s most misan ...

Half of a Yellow Sun

Jake Wilson
Thursday, 27 March 2014

A chronicle of Nigeria in the turbulent 1960s, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) is, to put it crudely, a page-turner: a story of love, sex, betrayal, horror, heartbreak, and, ultimately, forgiveness. In other words, ideal material for cinema: it is easy to understand why this film adaptation has been described by its star Thandie ...

Dallas Buyers Club

Dion Kagan
Friday, 28 February 2014

Dallas Buyers Club is the latest and largest in a growing number of period and documentary films about Aids in America. It envisages a time in the 1980s when people living with HIV/Aids existed in a socio-political combat zone in addition to the battles being waged in their own immune systems. Dallas Buyers Club is allegedly a different kind of Aids fi ...


Tara Judah
Friday, 28 February 2014

Capturing the essence of Robyn Davidson’s journey across 2700 kilometres of Australian desert was a visual challenge for National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan. Convinced the magazine would misrepresent her, Davidson knew that the challenge was coming to terms with her decision to ‘sell out’ (her words) in agreeing to let an American photographer ...

Saving Mr Banks

Tara Judah
Sunday, 19 January 2014

P.L. Travers (1906–96) did her best to keep her private life private. Perhaps her reservations harked back to the days before she penned Mary Poppins (eight novels, 1934–88) when she was a human interest columnist for a daily newspaper. As a writer of both journalism and fiction she knew as well as anyone that hearsay and speculation were quite different ...

The Counselor

Stefan Solomon
Thursday, 05 December 2013

When a film is created by an equally renowned cast and crew, it can be difficult to identify the most notable contributors. In praising or blaming, we often focus on the director or the actors. In this instance, however, it is the screenwriter’s efforts that command our interest and ultimately reorient what could have been a straightforward narrative.

It ...

Stranger by the Lake

Dion Kagan
Thursday, 28 November 2013

Stranger by the Lake is set entirely within the perimeters of a cruising ground for men by the shores of a lake in France. There unfolds a perfectly simple temporal conceit in which the cruiser, a handsome thirty-something everyman called Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), arrives each summer day, parks his car, and walks down to the pebbled beach by the lake’s ...


Jake Wilson
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Nevil Shute’s apocalyptic 1957 novel On The Beach and Stanley Kramer’s 1959 movie adaptation hold a continued fascination, particularly for Melburnians – even if we have grown weary of the famous quip, attributed to Ava Gardner, about the city being the ideal place to film the end of the world. Largely setting aside such parochial concerns, Lawren ...

Mr Pip

Brian McFarlane
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Film-wise, 2013 has been the year of adapting dangerously. Dangerously, that is, in the sense of daring to affront devoted readers of the original novels or plays, valuing enterprise over fidelity. Now, just after admirable versions of Much Ado about Nothing and What Maisie Knew have finished their runs, we have director–screenwriter Andrew Ada ...

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