This quaint melodrama from Down Under stars first-timer Alex O’Lachlan as Jack Flange, a young man who goes to work at an oyster farm in a remote inlet of New South Wales in order to be close to his ailing sister. Already itching to leave this new way of life behind, Jack robs two money couriers inside a fish market using Fruit Roll-Ups for mask and a lobster as a bludgeoning device (no kidding!), but what begins as something resembling a quirky suspense thriller slowly and unassumingly reveals itself as a quirky love story, not just between its characters but also between director Anna Reeves and the story’s languorous neck of the woods. Her technique behind the camera is mostly a point-and-shoot affair, but damn if Reeves doesn’t have an incredible eye for capturing the natural grime that clings to every corner of a room and weather-beaten object in and around the Hawkesbury River where the film’s characters cultivate oysters for the season. Just as the fates seem to want to ingratiate Jack with his new home (from the postman’s heart attack that sends packages flying into the river to the unveiling of a DIY therapeutic bathtub for the wife of Jack’s scruffy employer), so does the film want to endear its audience to the ethos of this out-of-the-way community populated by hermits and Vietnam vets. The characters are so lightweight and their backstories so starved for subtext it feels as if a gust of wind could sweep the film away at any moment, but that’s part of the film’s wistful charm. Like the missing money Jack mails himself, Oyster Farmer becomes something of an afterthought, but it’s a lovely excursion while it lasts.
- Cinema Guild
- 91 min
- Anna Reeves
- Anna Reeves
- Alex O'Lachlan, Alan Cinis, David Field, Kerry Armstrong, Diana Glenn, Claudia Harrison, Brady Kitchingham, Paul J. Mailath, Jim Norton, Jack Thompson, Bob Yearley
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