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MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019

THE REVIEWS

FESTIVAL FEATURE
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
28th July 2019

The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from Thursday 1st to Sunday 18th August 2019, with 259 feature films, 123 shorts and 16 virtual reality experiences, this year's MIFF is sure to be an entertaining experience. The SWITCH team has sat down to check out the best of the best of the festival to make sure you catch the best films in this whirlwind two weeks, so check out SWITCH's reviews from this year's Melbourne International Film Festival below - and keep checking back throughout as we add even more!

A Dog Called Money - An uneven mix of music, imagery and poetry
A DOG CALLED MONEY
An uneven mix of music, imagery and poetry
An intriguing snapshot of PJ Harvey’s creative process, but little else. It's less of a portrait of an artist or a travelogue and more of an outline of the relationship between poetry and imagery
Animals - Hedonistic female friendship and the art of growing up
ANIMALS
Hedonistic female friendship and the art of growing up
Gritty but not too gritty, the film voyeuristically observes the modern right of passage of identity, resilience and the hard choices we have to make.
Come to Daddy - A morbidly amusing genre mash-up
COME TO DADDY
A morbidly amusing genre mash-up
A film for people who laugh when they see somebody walk into a glass door, then laugh even harder when they notice that the person got a bloody nose. A delightful and unexpected highlight.
In Fabric - The best worst film ever?
IN FABRIC
The best worst film ever?
Filled with oodles of style, colour and imagination, there is a wonderful retro feel with nostalgic and a mysterious spookiness for those so inclined.
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
JUDY & PUNCH
A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
Part fairytale and part black comedy, the film is a period story with a message that’s vital to current society. Writer and director Mirrah Foulkes is an exciting young Australian storyteller.
The Dead Don't Die - A zombie comedy that's anything but grave
THE DEAD DON'T DIE
A zombie comedy that's anything but grave
A luxuriously paced, wittily gory zombie comedy, it’s part social commentary, part homage to cinema, and all ridiculous. You’d be dead right to want to check it out.
The Nightingale - A blunt and brutal period piece
THE NIGHTINGALE
A blunt and brutal period piece
This is not an easy film to watch and certainly not one to expect to come out of feeling terrific. But it will make you will feel something, which is a rare thing for a film to be able to do today.
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
CHILDREN OF THE SEA
Sunk by a soggy script
This film epitomises the risk that filmmakers take with adapting a long-running or ongoing manga - a vast amount of material has to be peeled back to the core essentials..
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead - A toxic family car crash
HAPPY NEW YEAR, COLIN BURSTEAD
A toxic family car crash
An entertaining - if not uncomfortable - film, this family has more secrets and infighting than an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, so sit back and watch the drama unfold.
Retrospekt - An idiosyncratic thriller with powerful substance
RETROSPEKT
An idiosyncratic thriller with powerful substance
Mystery hangs in the air for the duration of ‘Retrospekt’. It’s by no means an easy watch, but it’s a film with a lot to say and a creative way of saying it.
Leftover Women - Feminists beware, this one's a blood boiler
LEFTOVER WOMEN
Feminists beware, this one's a blood boiler
Prepare yourselves for a way of life we never knew existed - caught between the old and the new, culture and duty versus what you want, we see it all via the subjects of this documentary.
Skin - Inside the mind of white supremacists
SKIN
Inside the mind of white supremacists
The film does leave it up to audience to decide how they feel about the whole story, but is worth checking out to start a conversation about these issues and whether a racist can really be changed.
The Beach Bum - Mayhem with Matthew McConaughey
THE BEACH BUM
Mayhem with Matthew McConaughey
An incredibly enjoyable 95-minute exercise in escapism, love, and the unprecedented pleasures life can bring, with an incredibly charming performance from Matthew McConaughey.
The Amazing Johnathan Documentary - Whose documentary is it anyway?
THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY
Whose documentary is it anyway?
This film is a horrible legacy of a dying man, and a disappointment for fans hoping to see a favourite one last time. But if you’re looking for a film that subverts all expectations, this is for you.
Brittany Runs a Marathon - Literally run out to see this stellar comedy
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON
Literally run out to see this stellar comedy
Everyone across the board brings their A-game to bring this really fresh and heartwarming comedy to life. Put on your joggers and sweatpants to run out and see this one.
Kursk - When tragedy and bureaucracy collide
KURSK
When tragedy and bureaucracy collide
Moments of suspense are abound but not abundant. This isn't a traditional "submarine movie", but the themes of bureaucratic interference and media manipulation are more relevant than ever today.
Your Face - A contemplative portrait of ageing
YOUR FACE
A contemplative portrait of ageing
A film that creates portraits in time, taking time to find the beauty in the normalcy of life.
The Australian Dream - The conversation Australia needs to have
THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM
The conversation Australia needs to have
Watch this documentary and talk about it. We need to re-evaluate how we acted during this extremely recent period of our history, and forge a better way forward.
Sword of Trust - Trust the cast, not the comedy
SWORD OF TRUST
Trust the cast, not the comedy
While it has a mix of untapped potential and a stretched plot, ‘Sword of Trust’ is still a fun indie movie.
Give me Liberty - Outstanding performance, lengthily execution
GIVE ME LIBERTY
Outstanding performance, lengthily execution
This could have been a really powerful film, but due to many lengthy scenes that drain it sadly fails. While the cast gives their all, the filmmakers needed to sit in the edit suite a little longer.
Scheme Birds - A gritty journey to adulthood in Scotland
SCHEME BIRDS
A gritty journey to adulthood in Scotland
This documentary exudes compassion for its subjects and finds a few glimmers of hopefulness among the debris. It’s hard not to become attached to these “scheme birds” as they spread their wings.
Monos - A hypnagogic mix of teen angst and warfare
MONOS
A hypnagogic mix of teen angst and warfare
This film is a mood, an aesthetic, an idea; a sensory cinematic experience more than a story.
Take Me Somewhere Nice - The road less travelled
TAKE ME SOMEWHERE NICE
The road less travelled
It's not the first coming of age film and certainly won’t be the last, but by looking at a lesser-explored side of the genre with its unique aesthetic, it is able to carve out its own place.
Jawline - Yo! Please
JAWLINE
Yo! Please "like" me, I want to be famous
Watch from start to finish, then think back to the first two minutes of the film. Can you still see what’s to come? Is the sparkle still there? Or has the filter been deleted?
The Seer and the Unseen - Elves and environmentalism under the Northern Lights
THE SEER AND THE UNSEEN
Elves and environmentalism under the Northern Lights
A documentary that looks past the beauty of Iceland to see the life of one extraordinary environmentalist and her struggle against the mindless wheels of bureaucracy under the Northern Lights.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Another Tarantino classic
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Another Tarantino classic
The movie isn’t for everyone, but it’s a fun ride back to the past with fantastic performances, hilarious comedy and beautiful aesthetics. It’s about time we got something in cinemas that's original.
Memory: The Origins of Alien - Three Men and a Xenomorph
MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN
Three Men and a Xenomorph
A comprehensive look at the three men who created 'Alien' and the influences which bled together into a masterpiece.
Extra Ordinary - Just plain old ordinary
EXTRA ORDINARY
Just plain old ordinary
At its best, the film is alive with light humour and a clumsy romance. But it's too uneven - with a wonky tone, hit-and-miss jokes and annoying acting - to be anything more than merely ordinary.
The Souvenir - A flawed but fascinating act of autobiography
THE SOUVENIR
A flawed but fascinating act of autobiography
There’s no doubt that we’re witnessing something deeply personal, and some moments are shattering in their honesty, while other aspects seem to lack an objective understanding for its viewers.
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
CERULEAN BLUE
Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
It might not be the smoothest directorial debut, but the cast and crew show massive potential. They both also show some real promise as new Australian talent.
Young Ahmed - A disappointment from a world of talent
YOUNG AHMED
A disappointment from a world of talent
There’s just an inherent "something" missing here that could be blamed on a number of factors, all of which stem from behind the camera.
The Day Shall Come - A hilarious take on a flawed system
THE DAY SHALL COME
A hilarious take on a flawed system
While never takes its scathing satire to its limits, it’s an enjoyable romp that’s sure to divide audiences as much as it makes them laugh.
Matthias and Maxime - A magical film on the complexity of friendship and love
MATTHIAS AND MAXIME
A magical film on the complexity of friendship and love
This is a tender love story beautifully told, made with such love and care, sincerity and grace, showcasing everything that makes Xavier Dolan such an arresting filmmaker.
A Family - A unique and intriguing premise that never finds its feet
A FAMILY
A unique and intriguing premise that never finds its feet
There’s a tremendous amount of promise in the film from Jayden Stevens, and while it’s certainly an ambitious undertaking, never comes together in the end.
Okko's Inn - A gentle tale of ghosts and human kindness
OKKO'S INN
A gentle tale of ghosts and human kindness
An exceptionally gentle exploration of death, trauma and simple human kindness (as well as Japanese culture) that's charming and effective at pleasing its young audience.
Daffodils - New Zealand Musical almost in full bloom
DAFFODILS
New Zealand Musical almost in full bloom
A film worth investing your time in, with strong performances and high emotions, but it suffers from being afraid to commit to the musical genre.
Ray & Liz - Not your typical
RAY & LIZ
Not your typical "poverty porn" flick
It may be dour, but it's also vital, edgy and progressive. This drama crackles with angry energy, and reflects how grim life really was and still can be for large parts of the population.
Pain and Glory - Almodóvar delivers a rhapsodic masterwork
PAIN AND GLORY
Almodóvar delivers a rhapsodic masterwork
A portrait of an artist entering the last act of their lives, looking back at what they have created and the battlefield left in their wake, and facing the fear of never creating again.
You Don't Nomi - 'Showgirls': shit or masterpiece of shit?
YOU DON'T NOMI
'Showgirls': shit or masterpiece of shit?
As the film trots along, more evidence is wheeled out, causing your opinion to flop minute to minute. There’s drag queens, a satirical musical, more boobs than you could possibly imagine!
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
AND THEN WE DANCED
A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
Levan Akin has made a remarkable film, a passionate dance for love, for country, for tradition, for art and for survival. This will easily go down as an LBGTIQ+ classic.
The Art of Self-Defense - A satire as pitch-black as a karate belt
THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE
A satire as pitch-black as a karate belt
A truly funny, dark experience that will polarise audiences, hopefully leaving most of them satisfied. Just try not to think about it too much.
Long Day's Journey into Night - Art and technology meet in a dream-like film noir
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
Art and technology meet in a dream-like film noir
The protagonist’s myth-like search into his physical and metaphysical past is a feat of filmmaking that's as impressive as it is vital, where dream and fantasy and longing flow together.
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS
An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
The documentary excels in never sensationalising any aspect of Dujuan’s story for dramatic effect; simply capturing Dujuan’s daily life is enough to make blood boil and tears fall.
Dark Place - An unsettling Indigenous horror anthology
DARK PLACE
An unsettling Indigenous horror anthology
Running at a lean 75 minutes and offering a bounty of gore, atmosphere and thought-provoking stories, it's a rare horror anthology that moves from strength to strength and never overstays its welcome.
Slam - A gripping urban mystery
SLAM
A gripping urban mystery
Darkly elegant cinematography, expert utilisation of colour and excellent performances by the two leads ensure ‘Slam’ is never less than compelling and through-provoking viewing.
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