Please give a big welcome back to What Movie This Week’s Aussie sibling site Salty Popcorn, who are bringing you the best of Australian cinema, you lucky people! Salty Popcorn’s editor, Jason King, takes a look at One Eyed Girl, a new addition to the genre of the cult movie (that’s a movie about cults, although give it time and no doubt it will be, er, cult). Stick it on your DVD list!
ONE EYED GIRL follows the journey of Travis (Mark Leonard Winter) a troubled psychologist who loses a patient, fails to answer that he is having issues and turns to medication and alcohol. He starts spiralling downwards and then meets a girl on a train who is handing out brochures, Grace (Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Grace and Travis keep seeing each other on the train and he eventually takes a brochure and attends a meeting, it does not end well and he leaves on bad terms. That night he overdoses and calls the number on the brochure. The next day he wakes tied to a bed, on a farm, with a cult and so begins his healing process. Like all forms of government and society they are perfect in theory, and so is the cult, until cracks start appearing and Travis starts seeing the cult isn’t as glorious as initially thought.
I truly enjoyed this film; another great Australian film added to the canon of Australian cinema that needs to be seen but will find it hard to generate an audience. It is experimental and it is way too dark – it will be loved by critics and while I urge you to see it, I doubt you will, but heed my words, these are the films we should be supporting, we need more well made movies that are made clever and feature great Australian talent. We need to support more artistic films so more can be made, there will always be another TRANSFORMERS!! Hopefully it will get some overseas recognition and box office, recently winning the Dark Matters Award at the Austin Film Festival.
The film has a good structure and while the cult movie has been done a dozen times with similar outcomes this is separated from the pack because of its move towards the psychological trauma and battle Travis faces. It avoids the found footage horror trip into a cult and looks at it with intelligence and characters that are more than two dimensional.
The great strength in this film, besides a remarkable screenplay by Craig Behenna and Director, Nick Matthews, besides the sublime dark and dreary lensing from Jody Muston, besides Matthews’s strong direction is the acting, it is just superb. Mark Leonard Winter is someone to keep your eye on. Steve Le Marquand is a great ex-military cult leader addition to the genre, loved his performance. Likewise Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s Grace. And Matt Crook, his Markus, while a smaller role, is pivotal and possibly the most powerful in the movie.
Two things brought the score down from a perfect 5. I knew Travis was depressed but the overdose was unexpected and kind of threw me – it did make more sense as the movie went on and redeemed itself. But the big one was the ending, I thought it was a great ending but it was dragged out and predictable by this stage – it felt like it was being spelled out. I am also unsure as to the accuracy of procedure in that situation and it very much “one-dimensioned” the police.
Regardless the movie is brilliant, that something so skilfully made and powerful can be created for a mere $1MIL Australian boggles the mind, especially when something like TRANSFORMERS 4: THE AGE OF EXCREMENT cost two hundred and ten times more!! I would much prefer 210 films like this.
Salty Popcorn score: 4/5