When you think “Australian film” and stop thinking about grim tales of inner-city junkies, The Dressmaker is probably the kind of film that comes next: a big, sprawling, uneven but well-costumed, tale of Aussie-as types making jokes then getting serious at the drop of a hat.
Tracy (Lola Kirke) is an 18-year-old university student struggling to fit into a New York that doesn’t seem all that interested in her. Her classes don’t excite her, her literary dreams are flailing, her fellow students largely ignore her, and so when her mother suggests she call up her soon-to-be sister (Tracy’s mother is marrying her father) Brooke (Greta Gerwig), she figures she’s got nothing to loose.
Johnny Depp takes on one of his increasingly rare serious roles here as Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger. While seeing him play a light-eyed repeat killer is thrilling – Bulger may have run most of Boston’s organised crime, but this film is only interested in the moments where he murdered people – the meat of this film lies in his relationship with FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton).
In 2008, director James Marsh’s documentary Man on Wire thrillingly re-created French high-wire walker Philippe Petit’s greatest feat: walking between the tops of New York’s then brand-new Twin Towers in 1974. Now with The Walk, director Robert Zemeckis’ re-creates it all over again, with less charm, a more muddled sense of drama, but – and this is pretty much the point of the exercise – a whole lot of vertigo-inducing camerawork during the high-wire work.
In London during the Swinging ’60s, the Kray brothers were the public face of crime, but there was tension in the ranks. Slick charmer Reggie (Tom Hardy) wanted to take their protection racket legit, while his somewhat mentally unbalanced twin Ronnie (Hardy again) wanted to stay true to their violent gangster roots.
With Snowtown, director Justin Kurzel proved he could create a grim and foreboding mood; now with Macbeth he doubles down on that with an adaptation that’s visually stunning even as it whittles the text down to a point well past the bare essentials.
Never having met their grandparents due to a falling out with their mother (Kathryn Hahn) before they were born, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (a realistically annoying Ed Oxenbould) are thrilled when she agrees to let them go on a holiday visit to the family farm.