What a gorgeous piece of cinema! Not just the stunning landscapes treated with stunning cinematography but the authenticity of felt human experience communicated in simple narrative and dramatic terms. Forget the genre antics, forget the auteur pretentiousness, forget the arthouse poseurs. Tim Winston's brilliantly realistic story meets a brilliantly realistic cinematic treatment by all involved, Simon Baker proving that authentic lived experience is the best guide to inform directorial duties. He treats the story and its themes like a true local Aussie who's totally at home with the story and the characters that populate it. To his immense credit he's made no attempt to trade off the authenticity of this Australian story for a more internationalised market driven approach. And this sticking to the true spirit of Winston's story pays the ultimate dividend: treating the viewer to a range of universal themes about friendship, growing up, the role of the natural environment in our lives etc. Cinematic Occam's Razor at its best. Keep it simple, keep it true, keep it pure. A beautiful film, visually and emotionally, unpretentious and authentic. Many Aussie directors have gone to Hollywood to make it happen.
Simon Baker comes home to do it and does it superbly. Mr Baker, more please!