November 6, 2013
Cast: Rose Byrne, Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxborough, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, Dan Wyllie
Directors: 17 of them – including Mia Wasikowska
Based on Australian writer Tim Winton’s best-selling short story collection of the same name, The Tunring is a collection of 17 shorts, each made by 17 different film-makers.
Pulling together a wealth of acting talent, and a three hour running time, the shorts are chapters from the book and cover a myriad of different stories. With each lasting roughly 10 minutes or so, the push through is quite an impressive one.
Like any collection of shorts, there are ones which stand out and ones which don’t quite hit the mark. Even the ones which aren’t quite as emotionally resounding are still visually impressive and beautifully shot. Inevitably the segments with the bigger names stand out – Rose Byrne’s practically unrecognisable as a trailer park dweller who’s a domestic violence survivor and who is verging on being born again; and Cate Blanchett’s turn as a woman whose Christmas plans are scuppered by the appearance of her mother-in-law.
Ambition shines through in The Turning; certainly there’s an epic feel and emotional subtlety which is resonant throughout the three hour event. Normal screenings provide a break, and I have to confess around the two hour mark, there was a need for some down time to process what’s been seen and what could be ahead.
A lack of familiarity with Winton’s tome proved fatal to me and I missed the subtle variations on the same character played at different stages and in different incarnations – it’s best to be aware of these links (similar names, some recurring motifs) before you go in – and you’ll certainly be richly rewarded.