Milena (Kate Cheel) makes her way to a very remote location, even for Australian standards: an opal mine where her father Max (Daniel P. Jones) works and lives. They haven’t talked in a long time and the distance between isn’t entirely comfortable. But Max is ill and in hospital at the moment – the reason for Milena’s visit. She slowly explores her father’s strange surroundings, trying to take in his world – and maybe through that, understand also the man himself.
I really enjoyed the first half of the film, but then it felt more and more that the film lost its control – and with it also my interest.
I really liked the idea for this story and the film’s setting. The former is handled in an unusual way and the latter is unusual in itself. It all felt incredibly authentic, making me wonder how much of it was actually set in scene and how much simply found as is at the location. The people and their living arrangements feel perfectly and naturally in tune, it’s hard to imagine them in any other way.
That also means that I was very glad to get subtitles for the film: my English isn’t bad, but I really struggled with understanding the often mumbled and dialect-heavy dialogue.
But once we’re acquainted a little with the situation and the people, things start to drift and not in a way that felt particularly controlled. Had it been a little more purposeful, I think it would have created a beautiful and strange atmosphere. Instead my attention started to drift as well and I started to get bored with it.
That being said, this is director Lodkina’s first feature film – and it definitely shows a lot of promise in the way she handles characters and settings, so let’s see what her next film brings.
Summarizing: not great, but an interesting debut feature.