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I saw this film recently at the Sydney Film Festival, and admittedly had fairly neutral expectations for it beforehand. But this is a really wonderful film that must presage a bright future ahead for Australian cinema.
Fell is the debut feature from director Kasimir Burgess, and he shows a wonderful craft in his first film. The story is simple enough. Thomas (Matt Nable) is camping with his young daughter when she is tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident with a logging truck. The driver, Luke (Daniel Henshall), is sent to prison for it. Fast-forward five years and a shattered Thomas has left his city life to settle in the town where the accident took place, and begins working as a logger. It appears he's waiting for the moment when Luke is released from prison, and returns.
It's a really quite stunning film in many ways. The cinematography is truly excellent, and captures the depth and beauty of the Australian bush. The performances are restrained but extremely powerful, in particular Matt Nable as Thomas, whose pain is palpable even through such a taciturn character.
So many of the pieces of the production add to the atmosphere. The sound design is wonderful, with the score evoking the calls of birds in the bush against the hum of chainsaws. Editing is done to allow long, languid shots of the environment while we the audience muse on some piece of emotional turmoil in the story.
It really was a truly wonderful film, especially when taken as a complete package. I was incredibly moved by it by the end, and the journey it took me on was sublime. I await Burgess's next feature with anticipation.
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