Director: Peter Weir
Stars out of 10: 9.3
My third Peter Weir film and his best so far. I’ve rated all three films, The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society and Picnic at Hanging Rock more than 9.0 stars and this one is the highest rated, so far.
There’s cinema, then there’s beautiful cinema and then there’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, a movie so tantalizing, so ethereal, so sublime, that you may scream out IMPOSSIBLE because no-other film has quite reached this level. There are others, yes, and I’ve seen many, but this one is a true eye-candy. The innocence and sweetness is in the beautiful ladies and the excellent cinematography but they start and stop there. You see, Picnic is not a sweet movie, far from it, it’s a haunting, surreal movie with a violent atmosphere to it. Students of Appleyard College go on a picnic trip to Hanging Rock. Once there, three students and one teacher end up missing and the rest of the film is about searching for them. The teacher is implied to have been raped and as for the students, no-one has the foggiest. One of the students, Irma, is found one week later, badly scratched and dehydrated but are unsuccessful on the others.
Beautiful the movie may be, it left me disturbed in a way no other movie ever did. I mean, anything explicitly violent could’ve happened to them. Attacked by a wild animal? Brutal kidnapping? Falling down a deep hole? OK, seriously, stop thinking, don’t make it worse! I think I actually cried when the film finished because they’re still out there… that’s it!
I’ve noticed one thing that music has always been a great part of Peter Weir’s movies and boy ‘o boy! Is the music the greatest ever? To me the most beautiful music score was the one in Blade Runner but this one, called Diona, beats it by miles. It’s powerful, haunting and seriously attention grabbing. Perfect way to start off a film and to fuel it. Excellent job!
So far I haven’t written about the performances and yet that is the reason why I write reviews. Now, it has a host of relatively-unknown Australian/Welsh actors that you may or may-not have seen in other movies. The only two that kinda impressed me were by Dominic Guard as Michael and Wyn Roberts as Sgt. Bumpher. Both were good in their respective characters but that’s all. To some extend, I said some, Magaret Nelson as Sara. She had a classic dark quality to her that had me mesmerized!
So, Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of Australian Cinema’s finest works and one of the most, most beautiful piece of work I’ve ever seen. If it doesn’t leave you haunted, then go play Limbo… at-least that will, if not anything else!