Little Fish

Director: Rowan Woods

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Cate Blanchett is one of the world's finer actors & I just know she could've done better than she did in Little Fish (2006), so have to blame the director. She seems miscast as an ex-heroin junkie from the lower classes. Everyone in the film seems legitimately white trash but Cate moves through the story like the same goddess she was in Elizabeth (1998).

I've seen her in roles where she managed to overcome her inherent regality & become something other. So I know she can do it. But this time out, I had to do all the work of believing this world-class beauty was a misery-laden ex-addict working-class Aussie with a crap job in a video rental store & a big dumb "dream" of someday owning her own internet arcade.

Just about everyone she knows is still a druggie or a drunk or a criminal or all three. We see her momentariily at her highschool reunion where the "memorial" bulletin board has an awful lot of pictures of the prematurely dead, a clue that her whole highschool was druggies.

The emotional level of these thirty-somethings is about sixteen, & Cate's character Tracy is an angst-ridden teenager at heart. This is credible enough since people who spend their formative years on drugs do have delayed development. But somehow this pack of losers is never very interesting & their utter lack of maturity is merely grating.

Well, one character rises above the tepidity of this whole mess. Hugo Weaving plays the definitively unrecovered addict, still Tracy's best friend. He'd been a highschool soccer hero, but his life has descended into complete pitifulness, & is about to get even worse. Weaving is the only actor who manages a superb performance, though Sam Neill as a minor mob boss himself depressed because his wife is divorcing him because he's gay, plays it rather lowkey & pretty well.

But every other performer, including the usually brilliant Cate, seems hamstrung either by the weak script, the weak direction, or both. With this cast the film should have been awesome, but it simply isn't. By the end even the director seems to have lost interest & attempts to turn the tale into a thriller with drug deal gone bad & gang murder, which in no way even fit the "mom doesn't like me & my brother's a turd" theme trucked out for most of Tracy's life story.

The high point of the film, pathetically enough, is when someone is shown watching an episode of Farscape on the telly, a proud reminder that film's director's primary work was for that cable science fiction series.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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