South Solitary


Directed by: Shirley Barrett
Written by:Shirley Barrett
Starring: Miranda Otto, Barry Otto, Marton Csokas, Rohan Nichol, Essie Davis
Released: July 29, 2010
Grade: C-

I knew this film was in trouble after about 30 minutes.  Nothing was happening.  I started to ask myself questions like – “how could a movie like this get funding?”  Sadly, things didn’t improve.  I hate sticking the boot into local product but this is the most boring Australian film I’ve seen in a long while.

South Solitary is set in the 1920s and is about a 35 year old woman named Meredith (Miranda Otto) who has travelled with her uncle George (Barry Otto) to a remote island off the east coast of Australia.  George has been appointed as the new lighthouse keeper following the death of his predecessor.

There’s George, there’s Meredith, there’s a family, and there’s some other guy named Fleet (Csokas).  That sums up the inhabitants of South Solitary.  As you can imagine, it’s a bundle of excitement.  Meredith has a bath.  Meredith milks a cow.  Meredith chases a sheep.  These scenes left me shaking my head with disbelief.  Who could possibly find this interesting?

If you think that’s bad, try enduring the endless arguments that George has with those who help him man the lighthouse.  He’s a stickler for procedures and protocol.  While atop the lighthouse, he spends hours perusing through log books trying to find any evidence of poor performance.  It’s riveting stuff.

Perhaps it would be different if I developed some sort of emotional attachment to these characters.  I might have actually cared.  Alas, it was not to be.  The only glimmer of something “real” was an exchange between Meredith and Fleet in the film’s final moments.  I had other issues with this scene but at least there was an attempt to create a meaningful exchange between two characters.

Ok, so you get the point.  I hated this movie.  I realise there's an audience for every film but I'm struggling here.  Are there enough people to make this succeed at the box-office?  I don't think so.