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Neil Fox on film: The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part 2

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

Proof if ever it was needed that you can call a film anything and if enough people want to see it, it won’t matter.

Director Bill Condon – who directed Part 1 – strives to keep some continuity and mostly succeeds, and he has a tough ask to ensure the legions of obsessive fans depart into the night happy.

My problems with the franchise have been well represented, similarly with the Harry Potter series, but sadly the finale here lacks the punch and emotive resonance of that particular denouement.

The Volturi are coming for the Cullens and their ludicrously named VampChild offspring, and the whole family must bring together disparate clans in defence.

Also standing with them is Jacob, the lone wolf who vows protection. And they wait for the final showdown. On the page it may be a heart-rending teen coming-of-age saga, but on screen it is never more than surface, intermittently engaging.

It all feels so wallowing and forced and the finale fight definitely feels added for popcorn effect and like so many of the decisions, taken for commercial, as opposed to artistic, intent.

But then what do I know? The box office projections are monstrous and I am sure they will find more ways even after this is buried to suck our consumer blood. Sorry.

Mental

Two films this week deal with mental illness in drastically different ways. The first is the return of director PJ Hogan and his Muriel’s Wedding star Toni Collette in an engaging comedy that asks serious questions and only rarely lets its audience down by shepherding them to the answers.

Collette is a hitchhiker, called in to look after a group of dysfunctional girls when their mother is sent to a hospital. Her interesting and unorthodox ways soon have an impact in a film that is highly stylised, arch and kitsch all at once.

It works though, mainly, and the balance of humour and pathos is striking. It’s unrepentantly Australian and direct and is all the more rewarding because of it.

Amour

At the other end of the spectrum is Michael Haneke’s devastating Palme d’Or winner, which tells the story of a marriage changed forever when Anne, in her 80s, has an attack that requires her husband, Georges, also in his 80s, to become her caregiver.

It’s a brutally honest portrayal of old age and illness, unsentimental but unbelievably moving due to the performances and the sheer volume of love emitted from simple acts.

Truly one of the most special films of the year.

 

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