The acting’s the thing in Fred Schepisi’s adaptation of Patrick White’s The Eye Of The Storm. Geoffery Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling give great performances in this black-comedy/ drama which sees the two grown-up children (Rush and Davis) of a rich of woman (Rampling) returning home to visit her on her deathbed.
This Australian drama is filled with unlikeable characters and it’s a nasty look at how family makes and breaks you. Rampling fills her dying matriarch with seething bile, who appears to loathe her children. Rush bumbles about as an actor whose career is on the wane, while Davis grew-up to become a princess – but without the fairy tale ending.
The Eye Of The Storm is about greed, fear and unhappiness. Each character is anticipating the death of the rich heiress, hoping that they will somehow get their share of her wealth. Even her long suffering staff are waiting – but the spiteful old lady just won’t die. Everyone loves her in their own way, but it’s very much like Stockholm Syndrome, when a hostage has feelings towards their kidnapper.
Fred Schepisi is a director who has tackled many different genres and The Eye Of The Storm feels like he wanted to create a quirky prestige project – he selected the right actors for the job. Schepisi teases out the performances in his cast, who help him create an interesting and off-kilter drama. Think of The Royal Tenenbaums dipped in Molasses.
The Eye Of The Storm is an enjoyable little film which didn’t get much of an audience on the big screen. It’s not your usual drama, but that’s no bad thing. Strong performances and an original tone mean that it might become something of a cult film that will grow in popularity.