|SMASH PALACE (director/writer: Roger Donaldson; screenwriters: Peter Hansard/Bruno Lawrence; cinematographer: Graeme Cowley; editor: Mike Horton; music: Sharon O'Neill; cast: Bruno Lawrence (Al Shaw), Anna Jemison (Jacqui Shaw), Greer Robson (Georgie Shaw), Keith Aberdein (Ray Foley), Sean Duffy (Frank), Lynne Robson (Linda), Desmond Kelly (Tiny); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Roger Donaldson; Atlantic Releasing; 1981-New Zealand)|
a film that artists make."
by Dennis Schwartz
Donaldson ("The November Man"/"The Bank
Job"/"The Recruit") co-writes with Peter Hansard and
star Bruno Lawrence this engrossing but downbeat
character-based action drama about divorce when
neither side is to blame. The writers handle a
familiar melodramatic story about divorce by bringing
to light complex motivations for going bonkers over a
serious films like this one, with something worthwhile
to say, that revived New Zealand's international movie
Lawrence is an ex-racing Grand Prix
champ who retreats to the dreary sticks in his
native N.Z. to take over his dad's car-wrecking
business. He cracks up when his bored cultured
pregnant French wife Anna Jemison leaves him because
she can't stand his career move and thereby lives with
his policeman best friend Keith Aberdein
and their daughter Greer Robson. A
pissed Bruno responds by kidnapping the 8-year-old and
taking her on a grueling cross-country chase with the
law in pursuit through bush territory.
lyrical pic that shocks the senses with mood swings of
tranquility and violence. The pic has soul, visual
beauty, a great performance from Lawrence, pain that
registers on the screen and an intrinsic rhythm to
hold things together. It's a film that artists make.
REVIEWED ON 9/4/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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