ONE EYED GIRL | MOVIE REVIEW

Australian filmmaker Nick Matthews’ feature directorial debut, ONE EYED GIRL, is a cracker. It is no MURIEL’S WEDDING, no PRISCILLA and definitely no THE CASTLE. It is dark, moody, soul crushing and intelligent. It is a look down the well of a life that chooses a cult over drugs – and in the recovery process decides over one’s self or one’s soul. ONE EYED GIRL is releasing April 30th in Australia on limited release. It is being released by THE BACKLOT STUDIOS, is rated MA15+ and runs for 102mins. Cinemas screening the movie I have listed below.

 

ONE EYED GIRL MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
ONE EYED GIRL | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

ONE EYED GIRL follows the journey of Travis (Mark Leonard Winter) a troubled psychologist who loses a patient, fails to answer that he is having issues and turns to medication and alcohol. He starts spiraling downwards and then meets a girl on a train who is handing out brochures, Grace (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is one of those annoying people who hand you random stuff in public, I loathe them, I also have lost a lot of respect for the pushy nature of Greenpeace on the streets. Anyway, Grace and Travis keep seeing each other on the train and he eventually takes a brochure and attends a meeting, it does not end well and he leaves on bad terms. That night he overdoses and calls the number on the brochure. The next day he wakes tied to a bed, on a farm, with a cult and so begins his healing process.

Like all forms of government and society they are all perfect in theory, and so is the cult, until cracks start appearing and once Travis starts healing and moving towards the person he always wanted to be, that of a healer, he starts seeing that the cult isn’t as glorious as initially thought.

 

ONE EYED GIRL MOVIE IMAGE
ONE EYED GIRL | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MARK LEONARD WINTER (TRAVIS)

 

“IN THE LAND OF THE BLIND THE ONE EYED GIRL IS QUEEN” – these are words spoken by Grace and at first they never made sense to me – if anything I would call the film ONE EYED BOY as it is really Travis who comes in to the cult with only one eye opened and he is the protagonist of the tale. But the more I think about it the more I see him as the saviour to Grace, the being of Travis’s redemption and the one he must choose self or soul over. However Grace is the one that has an eye opened by Travis. From that I see a much deeper and suited title to the movie but really, she is a very Shakespearean queen destined for tragedy.

Too deep JK, too deep 🙂 Movie is good!

I truly enjoyed this film, another great Australian film added to the canon of Australian cinema that needs to be seen but will find it hard to generate an audience. It is experimental and it is way too dark – it will be loved by critics and while I urge you to see it, I doubt you will, but heed my words, these are the films we should be supporting, we need more well made movies that are made clever and feature great Australian talent. We need to support more artistic films so more can be made, there will always be another TRANSFORMERS!! Hopefully it will get some overseas recognition and box office, recently winning the Dark Matters Award at the Austin Film Festival.

 

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ONE EYED GIRL | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FATHER JAY (STEVE LE MARQUAND)

 

The film has a good structure and while the cult movie has been done a dozen times with similar outcomes (we even have a competition and review up to win THE SACRAMENT right now) this is separated from the pack because of its move towards the psychological trauma and battle Travis faces. It avoids the found footage horror trip into a cult with a slaughterfest and looks at it with intelligence and characters that are more than two dimensional. Father Jay is a superb cult leader with a determined and tested method to make the cult work, he is a helper, but he is also a selfish prick that helps himself, he is honest in his methods, he is not their to be liked when fixing someone but it works and through self redemption and people getting healthier they tend to fall in love with him – probably Stockholm syndrome. Grace has her own battles to fight, she has seen the way and she loves it but Travis opens her eye and she is heavily conflicted. Travis is all kinds of messed up but we still see him as the “hero” in the story and we side with him and forgive his mistake. Then there is Marcus (Matt Crook) – the mirror for Travis to look at, someone so determined to better they are willing to sacrifice a lot and become blind in the process.

The great strength in this film besides a remarkable screenplay by Craig Behenna and Director, Nick Matthews, besides the sublime dark and dreary lensing from Jody Muston, besides Matthews’s strong direction is the acting, it is just superb. Mark Leonard Winter is someone to keep your eye on – he nearly stole the show in HEALING in 2014 as the cell mate of Xavier Samuels and it is great to see him in a leading role! Steve Le Marquand is a great ex-military cult leader addition to the genre, loved his performance. Likewise Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s Grace, a mysterious messed up girl who is so naive to the world but has so much potential. And Matt Crook, his Markus, while a smaller role, is pivotal and possibly the most powerful in the movie.

 

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ONE EYED GIRL | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GRACE (TILDA COBHAM-HERVEY)

 

Two things brought the score down from a perfect 5 pops. I knew Travis was depressed and losing his shit at the beginning but the overdose was unexpected and kind of threw me – at the time I thought the movie was failing me here – it did make more sense as the movie went on and this was more explored through flashbacks, it redeemed itself. But the big one was the ending, I thought it was a great ending but it was dragged out and predictable by this stage – it felt like it was being spelled out for any dummies and where the rest of the movie played on its own accord for people to work out this part felt overly dramatic with too many shots telling you what was about to happen. I am also unsure as to the accuracy of procedure in that situation and it very much “one-dimensioned” the police with a negative outcome (cannot say too much or will ruin the ending).

Regardless the movie is brilliant, that something so skilfully made and powerful can be created for a mere $1MIL Australian boggles the mind, especially when something like T4: THE AGE OF EXCREMENT cost two hundred and tens times more!! I would much prefer 210 films like this than that shite!

Make up your own mind – get out and see this when it releases in April, not because it is Australian, because it is good!

Confirmed 11/4/15:

We are pleased to advise that One Eyed Girl will release on April 30 at the following cinemas, with more to be added:

ADELAIDE
Trak Cinemas, 375 Greenhill Road, Toorak Gardens

MELBOURNE
Classic Cinemas, 9 Gordon Street, Elsternwick
Cameo Cinemas, 1620 Burwood Highway, Belgrave

SYDNEY
Ritz Cinema, 45 St Pauls Street, Randwick

 

4 Pops