Out There

Reviews and reports from SXSW Film and Interactive 05

Out There


D: Cate Shortland; with Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington, Lynette Curran, Erik Thomson, Hollie Andrew

Narrative Feature Discoveries From Down Under

Everyone has already decided what kind of girl Heidi (Cornish) is: Like her mother (Olivia Pigeot), she's the kind who attaches to men for survival. Heidi leaves home and consorts with a string of losers in a snowy New South Wales resort village, finally landing with Joe (Worthington), a townie with whom a more meaningful relationship potentially emerges. Gracefully and bravely acted – 23-year-old Cornish is sensational – the film follows Heidi through a somnolent, atmospheric haze, counterpointing her moments of teenage wonderment with her free fall into adulthood and sexuality; Shortland mixes film speeds within a scene and uses contrapuntal sound to contrast the fairy-tale stillness of Jindabyne's lakeside landscape with the rudeness of its debauched tourist culture: the apple bongs and boilermakers, the hookups and hostility toward and within the locals. This is a remarkably articulate film, artistically and emotionally, with much to say about how people connect (or don't).

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