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FASHION’S FINEST Perth’s most stylish individuals gathered at the historic GPO in the heart of the city last Thursday night for the 16th annual West Australian Fashion Awards, recognising excellence in design and creative talent. Decked out to resemble a plush French boudoir, the GPO provided an elegant backdrop for the evening, which featured musical stylings by Wolves At The Door and comedy by funny man Jimmy James Eaton. For the full rundown of this year’s WAFA winners check out this week’s Lifestyle section. Photographs by Linda Wiger

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Harmony & Bernice

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE Life is Beautiful Again Directed by Stephen Daldry Starring Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock From the director of The Hours and Billy Elliot comes a remarkable film dealing with the small and tragic repercussions of an outrageous and grand scale catastrophe. Stephen Daldry constructs the tale of a middle class New York family coping with the aftermath of 9/11 through the eyes of Oskar (Horn), the precocious and brilliant nine year old savant who attempts to find meaning and sense through a spirited, playful and at times very painful adventure. The film is an adaption of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel of the same name. Foer is perhaps best known for his watershed book Eating Animals, a superbly written work (which is chiefly responsible for me not having eaten a lamb chop in nearly a year) and the craft demonstrated by Foer in his earlier writing is shown throughout this genuinely uplifting and beautiful film. It is a very delicate piece which balances itself on tip toes and manages to tell its story without drowning in sentiment and delivers a powerfully emotional drama along the way. There is a bizarre and welcomed weightlessness to this picture which is really quite extraordinary considering its subject matter. The performances are very strong across the board and the leads of Hanks and Bullock are especially moving, however, the chief gong has to go to the young Horn who manages to pull off a marvelous performance which is hardly ever reaching for anything and always seems to hit the right tone throughout the piece. The supporting cast, which in fact

is everyone other than Horn, all put their own touches towards a very well shared vision of what the work seems to have set out to achieve. The music here is also very effective, sweeping violins and kettle drums have been replaced with oboes, double bass and affected percussion, which gives the film a layer of a carnival-type, almost obscurest nature which works to heighten the journey on which Oskar takes the audience. This is easily Daldry’s greatest achievement as a director and is without doubt among the very best portraits of New York post 9/11. It is clearer than Spike Lee’s 25th Hour, more potent and emotional than the Adam Sandler vehicle Reign Over Me and it is softer and less idealised than Olivers Stone’s World Trade Center. It is a film about loss, grief, total despair and finding reason and meaning, both in spite of the madness as well as because of it. The film’s power is in its ability to actually answer some of these enormous questions it asks. The setup is superb and it somehow manages to maintain its own magnetic energy until the final frame. As a viewer I was anticipating the inevitable disappointment that usually comes with strong starts but this picture is something quite different indeed. It hits all its marks, it’s constructed nearly perfectly and shows the world for what it is, a place filled with very loving and warm hearted people capable of remarkable love and enduring strength, strength which is drawn from the love of others and strength which is gathered together at those times when there seems to be little left to go around. It’s very good, it’s Life Is Beautiful Good, it’s Casablanca good, it’s Incredibly and Extremely good. _ADAM MORRIS

Holly

Zara Bryson

Lisa

Pippa

Laura & Lydia

David & Beverly

Contraband

CONTRABAND Contrabad

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur Starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale Contraband is an odd film. Not odd in a David Lynch sort of way, but just odd in general. Lukas Haas, Ben Foster and Kate Beckinsale offer solid performances, and the cast lay good foundations for the film but unfortunately the cast is the strongest element of Contraband with no smart script to back them up, which is something that every heist movie demands and this one claims to be. Mark Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, an exsmuggler who has abandoned his former criminal ways to start a family and a legitimate business. That is until one day when his young brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) gets himself a large debt by trying, and failing, his hand at smuggling drugs for low level crime boss Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi). Andy has two weeks to repay the debt, or not only face a painful death but the prospect that the debt will be passed to Farraday and his young family. Farraday has no choice, apparently, but to get his old crew together, get on a boat and try and smuggle millions in counterfeit money over the Panama Canal. That would be the easiest thing to do, right? He leaves his wife and two young boys with his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) and they then have to, apparently, hide themselves from this low level thug. I say apparently because I really couldn’t www.xpressmag.com.au

see the issue - the debt is owed to a pretty under powered thug, but a large threat he apparently is, and Farraday is on a deadline to smuggle in something valuable to save his family’s lives. There lies another issue with Contraband, as everyone seems to play a bad guy, and try as they might, Mark Wahlberg’s character doesn’t come across as good, just another shade of black. It’s overly predictable and you can’t help but feel like the writers are just trying to be clever (and failing). Any heist movie tries to have some clever finale, that “Oh that’s how they got the money out of the vault!” moment, and Contraband tries its heart out to give you that. But the glaring plot holes and scattered writing just don’t let it get there. There’s not enough suspense to keep you hooked, as you know the lead character is infallible and is always going to figure out some convoluted way to get out of a jam. Contraband is the first Hollywood film from Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur. A famous actor in his own right, Baltasar actually starred as the lead character in the Icelandic film Contraband is based on - Reykjavik-Rotterdam. Though the similarities between the two films are minimal and the direction of Contraband isn’t anything amazing, it’s an okay effort but nothing ground-breaking. The cast is the best thing about this flick and you can’t help but feel like they’re wasted on this script. _TOM VARIAN 25

X-Press Magazine #1306  

Wednesday 22nd February, 2012