September 27, 2013
The Turning is an astonishing film. It is dense, powerful, overcoming at times, skillful, creative and utterly unique.
Based on Tim Winton’s best selling novel ‘The Turning’, comprising of 17 short stories, adapted for film and directed by 17 different directors each with its own creative team. Robert Connolly was the mastermind behind the collaboration of writers, directors, filmmakers, cinematographers, actors and designers.
The novel itself is brilliant; it’s a collection of individual stories that interweave one another, set in a small seaside town in Western Australia. The respective narratives continuously intrigue and twist together with reoccurring characters namely Vic Lang who is consumed and obsessive of his past.
“A unique cinematic event” is how Connolly describes The Turning, the film is equally intriguing and horrifying. It is clever and cultured, whilst remaining utterly confusing. It is a feast for the audience, trying to connect the stories and locate the characters among the respective chapters within their individual creativity and vision can be difficult. However, the flow and transition from chapter to chapter is sensible and smooth. But just as you’re about to get answers it fades to black and you’re transported to another time and place.
The Turning explores how seemingly and somewhat random events can have the power to change and divert us, as experiences and memories echo off each other. You have to see it to understand; the creative visionaries are each so different from their use of cinematography to narrative to production your mind will be racing with questions and curiosities. There is even a chapter solely performed with interpretive dance, as well as split screens, first person narrative, zero dialogue, enhanced background noise, raw framing and much more contribute to the overall viewing of such a remarkable film.
The story is evocative, and I will boast nothing but praise for its unique and complex narrative. I’m a huge fan of Australian productions, and this embodies everything that is creatively genius about Australia. The use of landscape and culture with iconic and emerging Australian talent is fantastic. Notably most directors were debuting for the first time, coming from other creative disciplines. Keep an eye out for Rose Byrne who completely transforms herself into possibly the best character portrayal I have seen her perform.
This cinema experience is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is screening for two weeks only at selected cinemas across Australia. The whopping 180 minutes of screen time has a scheduled intermission, necessary so the audience can come up for air – it’s intense. Consult your complimentary glossy booklet, which gives a basic synopsis of each chapter, its meaning and contribution to the greater story – is a certified lifeline.
The Turning certainly won’t appeal to mass audiences. It is at times hard to understand particular chapters relevance and difficult to identify central characters (interpretative dance left me scratching my head). I walked away emotionally distressed, Vic’s life was laid out bare and I was the soul witness. I had unanswered questions and was essentially astounded at the depth of information I had acquired through such a visual feast.
However thinking about the film, the stories, the interweaving of themes and the sheer depravity of single events and how they were depicted is brilliant. If by no other reason than curiosity and my personal recommendation, see this film immediately.