I am all for movies that have an agenda about our environment or protecting the voiceless especially when they’re great movies. However, some of those movies are more in line with a screensaver. They’re not an actual films that can withstand some story elements. This is when I prefer to be landlocked. Robert Connolly’s Blueback tries to be a voice for the whales and underwater wildlife. But the story seems to have been sitting in the ocean a little too long with the oxygen tank running low over its impressive beautiful imagery.
The story focuses on Abby (Mia Wasikowska) whose a marine scientist whose studying the environmental degradation on the coral reefs. She’s staying with her mother, Dora (Radha Mitchell), whose trying to protect the cove around her house from developers. However, things take a turn for the worst when Dora suffers a stroke and then is left unable to speak. At this time, the film intermingles flash backs with Abby. During those scenes, when she was both 8 and 15, Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg respectively play Abby. Meanwhile, playing Dora in the flashbacks is Elizabeth Alexander.
While the flashbacks serve a narrative addition to show how there have always been incidents and the marine life has never truly been safe. In these flashbacks audiences discover a formative event during Abby’s younger years. Back then, she befriends a grouper whale and this sets off her love for the fish and all the creatures and environment that exists under water.
There is an additional layer of the story regarding a daughter/mother relationship between Abby and Dora that is more turbulent than most. This serves a small injection into our story, it is the least interesting part of the film. In factuality, most of the story itself is rather lacking and the film just boasts a beautiful visual aspect to it. The topics the film discuses are certainly important and relevant. Sadly, the way the film goes about it is not engaging enough to capture audiences fully.
Mia Wasikowska, Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg are all giving it their all throughout Blueback. Their performances at least make the story a little more palatable than initially laid out to be. It still doesn’t make the story itself engaging or captivating. Blueback is a stunning film to look at this will impress with its visuals. But it lacks the emotional punch and character development. This film needs those elements to bring some much needed life into this rich tapestry of images.
- Rated: PG
- Genre: Drama, Family
- Directed by: Robert Connolly
- Starring: Albert Mwangi, Ariel Donoghue, Clarence Ryan, Eric Bana, Erik Thomson, Ilsa Fogg, Mia Wasikowska, Radha Mitchell
- Produced by: Arthur K Humphrey, James Grandison, Jonathan Duffy, Liz Kearney, Robert Connolly
- Written by: Robert Connolly, Tim Winton
- Studio: Arenamedia
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