Dirt Music Movie Review

After months of quasi-quarantine you're probably sick of staring at the walls of your humble abode. You may be yearning to sit under the bright tropical sun instead of the glare of the nearest reading lamp, and wishing you could dig your toes into the warm sand of an exotic beach, not the shag of your living room carpet. Until your travel jones can be fulfilled for real, the new romantic drama "Dirt Music" may fit the bill. From its shimmering opening shots of a limpid orange sunset to its closing scenes on a rugged, secluded island surrounded by turquoise water, this would-be epic may temporarily tide over anyone starved for the sight of foreign lands. But if you're seeking a deep, emotionally engaging romance, it's unlikely to sweep you away.
Based on the popular Australian novel of the same name, "Dirt Music" maps the story of Georgie (Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire) a 40-something former nurse who's almost resigned to her dead-end relationship with Jim (David Wenham, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"), a fisherman on the west coast of Australia, and Luther (Garret Hedlund, "Mudbound"), a one-time musician she meets one night when he's poaching the catch from Jim's lobster traps. There's no evidence of sparks flying, but the plot obligingly throws the pair together again when Georgie has car trouble and Lu happens by, and soon after they've more or less meandered into an affair, seemingly in the spirit of, ‘Eh, might as well.'

"Dirt Music" feels distractingly freighted with mostly unseen backstory, though there are occasional narrative cul-de -sacs through which we learn something of Georgie's strained family relationships, the death of Jim's wife, and a tragic accident that impacted Lu and set him adrift. Eventually Lu sets off on something of a walkabout across the western part of the country. The film revels in this opportunity to show off miles of intriguingly diverse Australian landscape, and then doubles down when Georgie - accompanied by Jim - decides to head off in pursuit of Lu.

Based on a quick summary of the novel and a few contemporary reviews it seems that the original story is a poetic and picturesque tale of two troubled people irresistibly drawn together and then separated as they pursue transformative parallel journeys toward self-understanding and peace. The movie, however, doesn't seem to hew particularly closely to this in either plot, tone, or spirit. Because we've been told this is a romance it's not entirely unexpected when Georgie and Lu find themselves in a hotel room together for the first time. But, it's tough to look back and reconstruct the plot and character developments that led them there, mostly because we aren't shown much of that. Like a stone skipped over water, "Dirt Music" seems to skip across the surface of its own story, so some scenes almost appear to unfold in a vacuum, without clearly precedents. Those who have read the book may welcome the chance to relive its main points in this cinematic version; others may find themselves speculatively filling in blanks on their own to catch up.

The acting here is solid if uninspired, though any shortcomings are likely the fault of the script rather than the performers. Mr. Hedlund, who was marvelous in 2017's "Mudbound," is a bit mumbly as he takes on an Australian accent, but he is appropriately stoic as the damaged leading man, and flashbacks allow him to relax into amiable warmth as Lu sings and jokes with his brother and young niece. Ms. Macdonald effectively navigates Georgie's ups and downs, even when her character motivations may be somewhat cloudy, and Mr. Wenham does his best with an essentially thankless role. Of course, the real stars here are directors of photography Sam Chiplin and Rick Rifici. Mr. Rifici is also credited as "Water Cinematographer," a title that he more than earns; in "Dirt Music," every inch of Australian beach looks like a little slice of paradise, and both sunshine and moonlight sparkle dazzlingly off the choppy, everpresent ocean waves.

"Dirt Music" is a proverbial feast for the eyes, but there's not much here to feed the spirit; unfortunate, as the novel is thought by many to be a profound reading experience. But if you're looking for a Cliff Notes version of the source material that comes with a boatload of inspiration for your post-COVID travel plans, "Dirt Music" may be just the thing.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Dirt Music Movie Review Dirt Music Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Sunday, July 19, 2020 Rating:

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