Tony D'Aquino's film cleverly uses fairy tale and Greek myth to turn a slasher flick's Final Girl into something bigger.
Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE is a story of loneliness, psychological damage, and the terror of loving someone from a vastly different world.
Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 8: “The Homecoming”
Directed by Tony Krawitz
Written by Victoria Madden
* For a review of Episode 7, “Madness” – click here
Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) is now a patient. She recognises the world around her, but continues having visions of Mother Sullivan’s Ridge, of Gillian Baxter in her red coat, of lights in the forest. The devious Dr. Fiona McKenzie (Kris McQuade) tells Anna she has lesions on her brain, and that her blood is changing. Just like her mother experienced. “I think I know who killed Chloe,” Anna tells the doctor. Although nothing she says is heeded. McKenzie reveals that someone or “something” tried running her off the road recently. She may not seem devious, but she is, certainly.
When Anna opens her little notebook, THEY’RE LOOKING FOR YOU is scrawled across it in bold lettering. Naturally, Anna’s breaking out of the hospital, not content with resting in bed while something strange and terrifying still lurks in their little Tasmanian town.
Can’t forget about Liza Grayson (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). She and Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) were up at the ridge, last we saw them. She wallows in a big, dark hole below. Eventually, Dane is able to haul her out of a hole after searching all night to find her. “I think there are people down there,” she tells him in a state of shock. You can be sure with everything going on – secret tunnels below the ridge or not – you wouldn’t want to be around, now that state authorities are there, as well as Craig Grayson (Ben Oxenbould) and Max Holloway (Damien Garvey), and to a lesser extent Roy Macy (Anthony Phelan), trying to cover up whatever nastiness they buried there once upon a time.
Kettering, Tasmania is in a bad spot. Forget all the oddities, there’s a serious socioeconomic shift happening because of the quarantine. All sorts of work shut down, plus the mill’s being sold off. So the depth of what’s been going on becomes greater, simply for the human factor.
We start to see maybe Dr. McKenzie isn’t so bad after all. I guess she’s more so worried about Anna, and still in the dark as to anything Roy, for instance, might know. She further believes Roy is hiding something from his daughter.
Detective Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) and Constable Fergus McFadden (Henry Nixon) are still trying to get everything straight on their own heads. Fergus manages to actually impress Dutch, a little. He’s managed to figure out that Craig sent letters to Max, the threatening ones. Turns out he was trying to “teach him a lesson” for getting too close with the Greenies. I find it hard to believe Craig had anything to do with Chloe’s death, though. You can’t be sure. Not yet.
Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) goes to her sister Barb Holloway’s (Sacha Horler) place. She lets her know that she’ll likely leave Kettering soon, what with her daughter never turning up and now Travis (Kevin MacIsaac) supposedly running away; except we know the difference in the latter. “I know my grief drives people away, no one can understand the pain,” says Renae. Then she reveals knowing about Barb and Dutch, even Chloe knew. Most of the town does, it seems. Yikes.
At home, Craig finds her daughter carving a moth tattoo into her arm. He’s also not pleased to know she has Chloe’s camera. Maybe I was wrong about him. He definitely has a temper. Just not so positive that correlates to murder.
Everyone is a bit on edge now. Anna’s looking for Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) and finds him dead, what looks like a gunshot to the face. Whatever’s happening, it is starting to get treacherous. She gathers up whatever information she can find in Dominic’s camper before heading off.
So Craig didn’t write those letters. It was his daughter. She freaks out on her father, Dutch, and Fergus. Following their altercation, Dutch notices strange markings on the girl’s shoulders. She almost has a strange strength. Afterwards, Dutch and Fergus flick through the pictures on Chloe’s camera. This leads to the detective confessing to his relationship with Barb; that’s where he was the night of Chloe’s death, having sex with her mother.
Anna has Dutch meet her. She tells him about Dominic’s death. She shows him the pictures of the Dyatlov Pass Incident-related deaths, a picture of a strange orb with markings like those over the skin of people in Kettering. Worse, Dutch reveals the murder weapon used on Chloe found in Anna’s car. “Someone‘s setting me up,” she tells Dutch. The detective further explains to Anna that her father Roy took money in the ’90s from a company dealing in radioactive waste.
Up at Harrold’s camper, Fergus and Dutch investigate. Turns out Fergus used to talk with the man about his own father’s disappearance, the tides; I suppose that’s why he’s always out kayaking in that one area. Could Fergus’ father still be somewhere out there? Maybe up at Mother Sullivan’s Ridge? Either way, they may be getting somewhere.
In a big warehouse owned by Amber Arrow Industries, source of that triangle we keep seeing, Anna makes her way illegally down into the bowels of the structure. There, she comes in contact with one of those spiked orbs, like from the picture Dominic had and the same type of one Jens Jorgenssen (Damon Gameau) was seen burying last episode. It sits behind a pane of glass, surrounded by little glowing orbs. She also finds Lofty Sullivan (Nathan Spencer), along with Jens. She confronts him about being David Owen, the fingerprint. A moment later Jens offers up some information. He found Chloe dead, so he moved her. In order to “protect” people; like himself and Anna, so Jens claims.
The mysteries deepen.
Jens, a.k.a David, shows Anna bits of what he studies. There are x-rays of lesions on the brain. Many more things. Then, Anna sees a woman she believes to be a grown up Gillian who disappears quickly. “I want to know who I am,” Anna explains desperately, but only gets more cryptic answers.
Meanwhile, Fergus finds a clue at Renae’s place: a lipstick. It was the last photo on Chloe’s camera the night of her death, laying in the grass. There’s a letter left behind signed by Renae, describing the pain and torture she suffered after the disappearance of Gillian.
Oh, my. “Chloe had to pay the price for you all,” writes Renae in her letter.
What I find most interesting is how there’s all this nasty business going on Kettering, and the death of Chloe in particular has dredged the swampy hearts of the residents, brought out the secrets, turned over many stones that might have gone un-turned otherwise. So while Chloe’s murder might have been this big mystery that felt connected to a larger mystery, it was a mere catalyst for all the dirt to be uncovered in their little town.
At Chloe’s funeral, the word gets out about Renae, even though Fergus and Dutch try keeping things quiet. When Barb finds out she nearly collapses, as one would. Then the constable and detective receive word of gunshots up on Mother Sullivan’s Ridge.
But still, the mystery of Gillian Baxter’s not been solved. Despite now understanding who killed Chloe, that old disappearance has yet to be figured out.
In the forest, Dutch takes a bullet from Dane. Surrounding them are a bunch of people with guns, including Adam Holloway. Up at the ridge, Jens is taking Anna down below. To find her answers. Amongst the dark Anna meets: herself. It is a frail, pale, emaciated version of herself. But her, nonetheless. Has someone been cloning up on the ridge? Lots of instances of doubles. Even Jens, a moment earlier, references the King’s lomatia, which is a self-cloning species of plant. The two moons in the sky.
However, does this mean Gillian’s still out there? Obviously Chloe died. But maybe the weird behaviour from Adam and others can explain the concept of clones wandering around Kettering.
Wow! I understood this was a mini-series, but now we need a second series. Come on! This was fucking brilliant. It kept me guessing until the very end, even while I had so many theories bouncing around my noodle. What a great instance of writing throughout, always keeping people on their toes.
Could the Greek goddess of duality, Nephele, have inspired parts of this series? Or maybe Lamia, the mistress of Zeus, whose grief and envy of others turned her into a literal child-eating demon (similar to what Renae has become)? There are plenty of ways to tie this into Greek mythology. At least we do know that the clones are roaming Kettering. So it’s now plausible how Jens could be David, among other mysteries. No wonder Anna can barely remember anything, as she’s been cloned, and the effects are untold.
Let’s hope there’s a second season. If not, that’s fine, too. I just dig that we were given eight amazing episodes. Anybody who finds themselves let down at the end, you should go back and look through everything that’s already been given. Plenty of clues to add up and lots of mysteries are unravelled through their information.
Immortals. 2011. Directed by Tarsem Singh. Screenplay by Charley & Vlas Parlapanides.
Starring Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, Joseph Morgan, Anne Day-Jones, Greg Bryk, Alan Van Sprang, Peter Stebbings, Daniel Sharman, Isabel Lucas, Kellan Lutz, & Steve Byers. Relativity Media/Virgin Produced/Mark Canton Productions.
Rated 18A. 110 minutes.
Tarsem Singh is an interesting director. He has music video sensibilities, which is where he really got his start doing videos for such artists as En Vogue and more important R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” and it helps because his films have their own sort of flow. He doesn’t direct like everybody else. And while not all his films are that special, some of his work is undeniably impressive, visually exciting, and with a flair all his own. The Cell grabbed me when when it first came out, around the time I was about 15. It is such a unique and brutal serial killer film, and one of the three movies I can actually stand, as well as enjoy, Jennifer Lopez’s acting skills. The Fall is a beautiful film, a trippy piece of cinema. Then comes Immortals.
This is one hugely underrated action-fantasy mash-up. Whereas stuff like Clash of the Titans never really hits its mark, Immortals has so much to offer. Again, the visual style Singh employs makes this into, as he describes it himself, an action movie steeped in the look of Renaissance paintings. In addition, people like Mickey Rourke, a pre-Superman Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, even a bit of John Hurt, helps the acting rise above standard and stale melodrama you might amongst other similar offerings.
This screenplay is interesting because the writers chose to change pieces where they found themselves able. For instance, Zeus and Poseidon (Luke Evans/Kellan Lutz) are young men instead of the standardized old men we’re used to seeing. They apparently attributed this to the fact, and it is fact, that the Greeks themselves would often adapt certain aspects of the stories re: their Gods to in turn adapt with modern issues and times. So it’s only fitting some things get rearranged. Most of all, despite the stylized look of Immortals I’m glad that they chose to write this not as a modernized, contemporary adaptation. Due to that we’re treated to some amazing locations, many wonderfully designed sets which take you away from merely some desert, to the desert of another plane, a place where Tartarus and other mythical locations exist. Something I admire about Singh is how it’s very clear even as a director he takes great interest in set design, as well as design of the overall production. I’m convinced that’s a sign of a director’s grasp, as lesser directors likely leave that task completely to a production designer without having a hand in it. The style of Singh’s films is singular across them all. Like The Cell with its ability to take us inside the deranged and rotting mind of a serial killer, here Singh transforms the world in front of the lens into a lost place of Greek myth. He and production designer Tom Foden (who has worked with him before several times and other solid films like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and Mark Romanek’s chiller One Hour Photo) really take us away to another realm. These types of films concerning Greek mythology could easily be set simply in regular deserts and other similar landscapes. Instead we’re pulled right into the books and poems which describe Heaven, Tartarus, an Earth where Gods still came and left their mark.
As opposed to 300 with its CGI, Cavill’s physique as the lead, Theseus, is commendable work. He insisted on achieving his chiseled look naturally instead of having it all drawn on in post-production. The entire story behind it is mad, as financing troubles ended up having him effectively build up his body a few times before the money finally went through. Regardless, he also does some proper acting. So that’s really a double threat when it comes to action-oriented actors, which he’s turning out more and more to be; he can act, he can look the part and kick some ass. He does well with the choreographed fight sequences, which show off his athleticism, and in part his theatricality. It’s no wonder he’s gone on to even bigger things, as he has the gait and attitude of a Hollywood leading man.
Further than that, Rourke provides the essential villain that is Hyperion. In actual mythology, Hyperion is a little obscure, and though the film’s plot/story are linked quite a bit to the Titanomachy he also barely appears there at all anyways. So the writers have really come up with using Hyperion as a tabula rasa, where the Titan rebellion is sort of thrown on his shoulders, as he searches out the Epirus Bow to release them and find revenge on the Gods. Rourke is unsettling, even just Hyperion and his men are scary, scarring their faces and smashing the genitals of their recruits, going into battle like complete and utter savages. The ruggedness of Rourke makes for an imposing character in Hyperion, plus he looks absolutely mental with the big helmet on, such a perfect costume design that makes him look like some kind of jackal, or something of the like.
Added to these two lead roles, Evans is great as a young Zeus. He is a serious looking dude to begin with, and here he gives that youthful God a stern, calculating gaze, and fierce intensity that makes him formidable. Playing the oracle Phaedra is Freida Pinto; she is a nice choice, even if her role isn’t as massive as the men. But her feminine power as the oracle, a respected and revered role, is clear by the way she performs and how she makes the character feel. Also, really have to mention Robert Maillet – he plays the Minotaur, who in this version is just a massive, beastly man with a helmet and horns made from barbed wire-like steel wrapped around his head; terrifying. Maillet used to perform in the WWE, before it was WWE, as the wrestler Kurrgan. He does well here with a horrifying character. Honestly, that part actually freaks me out, and I’m a horror veteran. Great to see him here, using his physicality no less.
Lots of action, plenty excitement, a nice ass kicking showdown between Hyperion and Theseus. What more could you want? There are a couple pieces of CGI that I wasn’t big on, as well as some dialogue in parts (Stephen Dorff’s character wasn’t overly well written or at all developed; his acting doesn’t help much either). But overall, Immortals is a 4-star fantasy flick with heavy action, even some nice moments of bloody madness. Cavill, Rourke, and Evans too, they drive the cast, making this more than action fodder with a Greek mythology twist. Straying slightly from the myths and carving their own path, Tarsem Singh and Co. make a fine effort out of this one. Not enough people give this the credit it deserves, which is a shame. Let’s hope after a few missteps Singh does more fantastical work like this and The Cell down the road.