29 November 2003 | thurberdrawing
Australian Youth During The Cuban Missile Crisis
This is an intriguing effort from 1992. How many movies have you seen in which a character goes into an imitation of Olivier as Richard the Third and then a recording of John Kennedy comes on and you realize that JFK actually sounded like Oliver's Richard? Not many! THE NOSTRADAMUS KID stars Noah Taylor, who you'll recognize from a few things (ALMOST FAMOUS, for example) as an Australian teen raised as a Seventh Day Adventist. The year is 1962 and, indeed, with the Cuban Missile Crisis raging, the main character thinks the world is about to end. Given that the director, Bob Ellis, wrote and sang at least one song we hear in the background, I think it's an autobiographical account. It's a bit like SUMMER OF '42. While the religious upbringing the boy faces is treated with a lot of irony, THE NOSTRADAMUS KID is, ultimately, an understanding account. Given that the lead character has, on one side, a strong desire to connect with the Presbyterians who scorn him, the atheist who ridicules him and the biblical literalist who despises him for being a Seventh Day Adventist, this is not merely a story of someone who grows out of his religion. The wider theme of THE NOSTRADAMUS KID is the building of walls between people. It is not an attack on religion. In fact, it is a very honest portrayal of someone tormented with doubt. A NUN'S STORY may be a more devastating indictment of religious hypocrisy than this, but the point of THE NOSTRADAMUS KID is a little different. This will give you good insight into the mindset of the Baby Boomer generation. The acting is universally good, the photography is attractive and, if the movie seems a bit forboding, it is not cynical. Good luck finding it in the video shop. I found it in my local video shop, but I'd never heard of it before. I don't think there are any other reviews in this space. There's not even a professional critic's description. I find that surprising.