Gregor Jordan (Ian Thorpe: the Swimmer) brings to screen Tim Winton‘s same name 2001 acclaimed novel.
Set and filmed across Western Australia, Dirt Music makes us fall in love with marzipan beaches and with Garrett Hedlund‘s impressively convincing Australian accent.
Dirt Music sells itself as a love story, but the two main characters only rarely share a scene, and this makes it more a survival story with an emotional path to follow than a love one.
Told by the point of view of Georgie (Scottish Kelly Mcdonald with an impressive Australian accent as well), a former nurse who has left his posh family, his wealthy life in the big city, and his job to become a “not very loyal fishwife” ignored by the community, in White Point, a fictional suburb of Perth. Her husband is Jim Buckridge (David Wenham), a widower, father of two, and head of the most successful fleet of fishing vehicles specialized in lobsters fishing.
During a deep skin swim to take a break from her bad patch relationship, in the middle of the sea, just before sunrise; Georgie meets Lu Fox (Hedlund), a musician turned into a lobster thief.
What she doesn’t know, is that Jim and Lu are linked by something dark that happened in the past and that triggered Lu to quit music, and that keeps hunting him.
The love triangle generates a path of self-destruction towards the characters while, flashback after flashback, Lu‘s past is revealed to the viewer, the Dirt Music of the title, ’till the moment he runs away to a place Georgie once described as her favorite spot in the world, her place.
Georgie and Lu are like the city boy and the small-town girl characters in Don’t Stop Believing, just inverted.
Dirt Music is a film made of guilt and grief, where the water is the leitmotif that foretells the calm before the storm. A story about outsiders, crayfishes out of the water, lonely souls on the loose haunted by their past.
In the passage between paper and screen, despite the postcards-proof cinematography by Sam Chiplin and the outstanding soundtrack, something got lost in … adaptation, especially the complexity and depth of the two main characters.
But Dirt Music, especially for those who have not yet ventured into reading Winton, it’s worth seeing.
Dirt Music will be available on Digital Download from 19th July.