Please take this
opening sentence as an extension of my hand to shake yours.
I have always been
interested in watching more Australian films, with my recent decision to start
movie reviewing allowing me the opportunity to fulfil this desire. But then,
there are films like Book Week, a
movie which makes me reconsider my interest in watching more Australian films.
Book Week suffers from bouts of hysteria; a melodramatic and cliché bound story
about an unlikeable teacher (Nicholas Cutler, played by Alan Dukes) who has
visions of grandeur but is let down by his self-destructive tendencies. In the
week leading up to the settlement of a publishing deal, Cutler must come to
terms with all aspects of his life including relationships at school, the needs
of his family, and mistakes from his past that continue to haunt him.
There is a contradiction
of sorts in Book Week, a film which
holds quality literature in such high regard yet features a story that feels
like a first draft. A film which presents itself as profound but is undone by
contrived dialogue that attempts dark comedy yet comes across as amateur.
Dukes is captain of
the vessel but is let down entirely by a thematically convoluted narrative
which, just when you thought had finished introducing half-baked complications
to keep the film afloat, adds another chapter in the series that ultimately
builds to a ridiculous payoff.
caricatures in Book Week with
attempts from the film to feel current feeling five years behind (are vampires
still hot?) and as though the screenplay was written by a parent who had just
learnt what dabbing was. There is a level of conviction shown by other actors
in the film, however, they appear to have been instructed by writer/director
Heath Davis to project their lines as if they were auditioning for a government
is troublesome, with all supporting female characters shown as angry, bothered
and begrudging of Cutler, particularly that of a young love interest that
furthers the problematic old-man-young-girl
Most likely not in
the way the director had intended for, there is some enjoyment to be had with
the absurdity of Book Week, which is
also disappointing considering some interesting terrain such as Cutler’s
frustration with complacency sidelined for soap opera storytelling.
All-in-all, Book Week is an overstuffed attempt at
dark-comedy let down by the pathos of its subject, which had the film been a
book itself, there’d be plenty of copies available at the library waiting to be
checked out, but never will be.
Director: Heath Davis Cast: Alan Dukes, Susan Prior, Bonnie Ferguson Writer: Heath Davis
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