Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HAIL (2011) movie review

Hail (2011) (1st viewing) d. Courtin-Wilson, Amiel (Australia)

An aging ex-con struggles to find his way back in the world in a breathtaking, immediate drama from Down Under, “based on the life and stories of Daniel P. Jones," the film’s star. Juxtaposing poetic images with handheld slice-of-life scenarios, with characters sharing the same names as the actors playing them, director Courtin-Wilson works on an almost instinctual level – perfectly in tandem with his extraordinary players who achieve a documentary-like authenticity within their banal to beastly conversations. (Leanne Letch is a marvel as Jones’ longtime companion, lighting up the screen with her unabashed ordinariness.) As tragedy strikes and things grow progressively darker in the final act, Courtin-Wilson’s camera reflects the mood, extreme close-ups and foggy, unfocused screen imagery dominating. A searing character study that dares you to meet its gaze – the reward being sights heretofore unseen. (Yes, I’m talking about the terrifying/beautiful horse scene.)

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