Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DVD-Review: Little Fish

Film:  Little Fish

Starring:  Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Dustin Nguyen, Sam Neill, Martin Henderson, Joel Tobeck

Director:  Rowan Woods
Screenwriter:  Jacqueline Perske

Based on a short film by Rowan Woods called Tran the Man, Little Fish is about a woman trying to turn her life around after beating her drug habit, but no matter what that life keeps rearing its ugly head and she must take extreme measures to start fresh.

Cate Blanchett is Tracy, a manager at a local video store who dreams up the idea of expanding the business to the internet.  Sadly, she doesn't have the money to do it.  Her brother, Ray (Martin Henderson) meanwhile, is still involved in drug dealing, despite her best efforts to steer him otherwise.  Then there's Lionel (Hugo Weaving), an addict who finds himself cut off from his supplier (Sam Neill) who claims to be retiring from the business.  Tracy as a thing for Lionel, but his drug habit gets in the way.

Enter Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) an old flame from the past who says he's cleaned up his act and has become a successful stock broker.  He emulates all that Tracy wants: a clean life and a successful one.  She falls hard for him, and hopes he can not only help her out but her brother, too.

But things aren't as they seem.  Trust becomes an issue for not only Tracy everyone around her as well, as she struggles to put her life and theirs on the straight and narrow.

It's a dark film, although it still has some glimmer of hope to it, unlike Rowan Woods's previous films such as the aforementioned short Tran the Man, and the full-length feature The Boys.

Tran in Tran the Man was the nickname of Ray's character (then played by David Wenham), given to him by the Vietnamese he worked with in the Asian market in downtown Sydney.  The Ray of the short film is very much like Tracy of the theatrical film, although he is a dealer in this case and not a user.  This Ray wants to leave the dirty life behind him, but his brother (Donnie Moss played by Rowan Woods) does all he can to stop him from doing so.

In the feature film, Moss is not Ray's brother, but someone who works for the main supplier (aka The Jockey played by Sam Neill).  As in the short film Moss is not someone to mess with.

The cinematography between the two films is similar merely in it's opening and closing scenes, which is a nice touch and connects it to the short film.  I think they did a great job of taking a 10 minute story and expanding it to a full piece.  I wasn't sure how they'd do it, but it worked for me.

The cast is stellar.  Cate and Hugo are excellent as always.  I truly enjoy watching Hugo Weaving's films.  Dustin Nguyen is great here.  He is a highly underrated actor who deserves more screen time in the industry.

I was pleasantly surprised by Little Fish.  It is quite a gem of a film.