The story is there in the title – Tim Winton’s The Turning. Such is Author Winton’s impact on the Australian literary scene that we don’t just call this film The Turning, no it’s Tim Winton’s The Turning! And so it should be for his voice still holds sway even with 17 different directors giving us their versions of the stories that originally formed the 2004 short story collection that has birthed this amazing event. Yes I did say 17 directors, actually there are 18 with an animated preface of TS Elliot’s Ash Wednesday kicking things off. Using various styles, narration, flashbacks, straight storylines or even no dialogue at all these directors have attempted to tell these overlapping stories of community, of people, of place but each in their own way.
The beauty of the film is that none of the directors used the same casts, they all made their stories, vignettes, shorts whatever you wish to call them- separately from each other. So though there are reoccurring characters – Vic, Gail, Carol and Bob Lang as well as the troubled brothers Max and Frank, appearing more than once, they are not played by the same actors, in fact at times I’d say they are not even playing the same people. They cross cultural lines and barriers, they morph and develop and the views change because the people directing see things different, the actors see things different, the world they are showing us, confined as it is to miniature tableaus, is thus seen through these many differing eyes, differing views. But then that is the beauty of this collection and of Winton’s work in general. He writes about the simple things, the basic truths, the day to day heroics and failures, people we recognise, people we see everyday, people we see in the mirror each night, his characters connect with us because they are us and this film collection has managed to hold onto that feeling, that commonality even with different characters, different actors taking on the same roles.. We see these people and identify with them, the teenage misfits, the drunken dad, the harassed women, all wanting to make things better for themselves, their families but not really knowing how, or where to turn.
There are a lot of box office names in this film but you can’t say any of them are the “stars” – that would be a dis-service to the lesser known names, directors and actors. No the real stars here are the stories, the words and luckily they have for the main part survived the transformation to the silver screen. Tim Winton may not be the greatest writer this country has ever had, at times he misses the mark (Dirt Music anyone?) but when he gets it right (Breath, The Turning) he does it damn near better than anyone.
This film is a brave and extraordinary attempt at creating something beautiful within the boundaries of cinema and its bravery has been rewarded. Time, place, people – it has got it all just right. No superheroes, no CGI over the top fx just for the sake of it, no plastic people or celeb status, just the day to day, the good, the bad and the bleak, the broken and the proud.
A stunning set of stories transformed into a stunning set of short films.
- Collectible Booklet
- Audio Commentaries with the Film Makers
- Behind The Scenes featurettes
- World Premiere Highlights
- Teaser & Theatrical Trailer
- Picture Gallery
- Atom Study Guide
DIRECTOR(S): Various | COUNTRY: Australia | YEAR 2013 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Madman | RUNNING TIME: 172 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 | REGION: 4 / PAL | DISCS: 2