5 hours ago
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
 BREAKER MORANT: I looked this thing up before I started watching it and it's based on a play, and I hope I didn't let that fact prejudice me too badly because I don't think this movie ever quite stops being a filmed play. Some of the shots are cinematic, like the execution of Morant (Edward Woodward) and Handcock (Bryan Brown.) But it's mainly a courtroom drama and it's probably hard to get too cinematic with this sort of material. I've read (in Wikipedia; standard disclaimer) that they show this in Australian history classes, and having seen this it makes sense: it's nothing too daring visually, but conveys the lesson of men being sacrificed to empire while mixing in the ambiguities of Morant's character as well (was he killing Boer POWs for revenge? Was he ordered? Was it both?) It works very well as a history lesson. And Woodward and Brown are awesomely sardonic as the doomed men. It's just not a hugely different movie in terms of style; it's better than your average teledrama but not by a lot.