Night Moves / UK premiere

Long Weekend

  • Jamie Blanks /
  • Australia /
  • 2008 /
  • 88 mins

Jim Caviezel, Claudia Karvan, Robert Taylor, John Brumpton, Roger Ward, Lara Robinson, Gordon Waddell / Fiction / English

If you’ve just recovered from Wolf Creek and Black Water, now’s the time to start running.

It is evident within Peter (Jim Caviezel)’s initial speargun aim at Carla (Claudia Karvan) that their subsequent drive to Moondog beach – to camp out, to make up – is damned. What is not visible is the means by which Peter is stripped of his self-imposed, aggressive primacy: nature. Only when they reach their ‘idyll’ does such a signifier make its disturbing presence known. As Peter’s antagonism toward Carla increases, disembodied bestial cries haunt the humid air like infant longings. Ants and spiders crawl alike over the same spilled vittles, and the carcass of a dead sea cow edges ever closer to their campsite, an omen of Coleridgean proportions. All the while, their tented glade becomes an inescapable, feral cul-de-sac. It is no secret that Jamie Blanks’ film is a remake. Aside from Thirst, Patrick and Mad Max, Colin Eggleston’s 1978 original abstracted the fears and phantasies of a contemporaneous Australian male psyche caught up in a culturally politicising world. That Long Weekend has re-emerged in a post-feminist era of eco-awareness is far from coincidental, as is its moving dedication to the late Eggleston. This translucent approach toward the original’s thematic resonates through Karl von Moller’s crystalline cinematography, a clarity equalled by Caviezel’s all too recognisable Peter: part Lonely Planet surfer, part Narcissus, all Alpha arsehole. Matching this is Karvan’s Carla; all fire and frustration, she proves a febrile match to both Peter and her male counterpart in her craft. Like Wolf Creek, this is not so much about Final Girl, but Primal Man; by linking masculinity with untamed environment, Blanks maps the innately savage potential festering beneath the modern male façade. Rather than existing as a redundant re-imagining, Long Weekend reiterates and amplifies the patterns and concerns of its progenitor. Whereas Eggleston’s film proved prescient, this version stands as a testament to the present. Stripped of the original’s temporal distance (and its painfully tight fashions), it becomes more disturbing and palpable through its animistic and ecological sympathies. Through a concomitant breakdown of gender relations and nature’s normative passivity, Blanks succeeds in remapping the ‘natural’ order in favour of nature’s fearful symmetry.

2009 Archive

Image from Long Weekend

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  • #1 Richard Brunton / Wednesday 24 June, 2009 / 21:55 GMT

    Oh dear. To compare this to Wolf Creek is a travesty. It's a terrible film and you have to wonder what Jim Caviezel is doing with his career these days. The film is more funny than anything, and a dead killer sea cow that creeps along at the rate of twenty feet per night is hardly scary.

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