Matt’s Movie Reviews
May 22, 2014
In Australian cinemas is the acclaimed drama Healing, a powerful and richly symbolic story of redemption and hope from lauded director Craig Monahan, the first movie in 10 years from the filmmaker who first made an impact with his debut feature The Interview in 1998.
Released through Pinnacle Films, Healing tells the story of Viktor Khadem, a criminal of Iranian background who after 16 years of hard time for murder is placed in a minimum security rehabilitation program where he helps mend wounded birds, as he himself undertakes a journey of redemption.
Starring as Viktor is Don Hany, known for his TV roles as Dr. Chris Havel (the love interest to Asher Keddie) in the popular Channel 10 program Offspring, and also as good yet flawed cop Zane Malik in the underrated SBS crime drama East West 101.
Co-starring is Hugo Weaving, who also starred in Monahan’s previous two features The Interview and Peaches, and is among a small few of Aussie actors that although established in Hollywood, always makes time to return to Australian productions, delivering some of his best work in the process. In his biggest feature film role to date, Hany has drawn critical acclaim, with 3AW critic Jim Schembri writing that Hany “finds the heart of a broken man facing the challenge to accept and rejoice life in a life that has fallen far short of what he dreamt.”
He stars as Matt Perry, a case worker who established the unique rehabilitation program (itself based on the real life alliance between the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary and Prisons Victoria) that is central to this story.
Matt takes on Victor’s case and watches him develop a relationship with Yasmine, a Wedge-tailed eagle with a 2 metre wingspan and the same issues of trust and anger that plagues Viktor. Together they mend one another’s wounds, physically and spiritually.
Featuring a cast that includes Xavier Daniels, Anthony Hayes and Tony Martin, along with cinematography by Oscar winner Andrew Lesnie (The Lord of the Rings), and Healing is a beautifully made and beautifully portrayed feast for the soul that according to Variety critic Eddie Crockwell: “It’s refreshing to see a film that takes its own sweet time building characters and the subtle conflicts simmering among them. Led by the familiar and bankable Weaving, the cast, under Monahan’s sure guidance, deftly underplays what could have been, in other hands, an awkward melodrama.”