Our film is based on the retelling of the life of Michael Kingley, aka Storm Boy. Michael (played by Geoffrey Rush) is now an older man who has done well in life in regards to business and is currently retired, now having less involvement with the significant company. But Michael is also a grandfather. When strange visions begin to reappear around Michael’s life, he is encouraged to retell the story of his young life to his granddaughter. Storm Boy is a story of friendship, love, hate, sadness and a little Pelican known as “Mr Percival”.
As the film began, I did find the introduction to our leading characters slightly confusing, and I started to think about how young kids would process this too. As we’re introduced to Geoffrey Rush’s character, Michael, we are also introduced to his world of past business dealings, friends and family. Michael’s visions could almost come across as a haunting and frightening. While I understand what Michael was going through at the start of the film, I felt the pace and style was rather unusual to introduce the characters and get the movie in motion. Once Michael goes back in time, the film correctly sets sail.
I must also put in writing that the performance by newcomer Fin Little (aka young Storm Boy) was fantastic to see on screen. His work was rather impressive in this touching and dramatic role. Young Storm Boy’s father is played by Jai Courtney. And while Jai Courtney is well suited to the task, I did feel some lines were delivered poorly and lacked passion, in particular during what I expected to be touching moments between a father and son.
I must give praise to the style of filming and the use of landscapes. There is plenty to admire when it comes to the sea and the land of Australia. The choice of music and the way the film transitions between young and old Storm Boy gave me goosebumps mostly due to Geoffrey Rush’s stand outperformance. I was also left rather impressed by the talented Pelican’s used in the film which I later read were all real and trained for the film. I haven’t seen anything like it in cinema before, and it was great to see the talent and filming of these beautiful creatures.
Overall, Storm Boy is a great Australian film which I feel came to cinemas somewhat under the radar. This is a film that covers so many themes of loss, sadness, love, hate and friendship. By the end of the film, I found it impossible not to be touched by this film, water also leaking from my eyes (and judging by my cinema audience, I wasn’t the only one). This is an excellent film for those who have never heard the tale or perhaps for those who would love to revisit the movie and go down memory lane. I was concerned with the film’s opening and introduction of selected characters and some moments which I felt lacked from the actor Jai Courtney. The performances by newcomer Fin Little (aka young Storm Boy) and the Pelicans alone were impressive to see.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden