WALKING ON WATER: DVD
When Gavin (David Bonney), one of a household of gay and straight friends and family, dies after an 18 month illness, the relationships of the living begin to unravel. Charlie (Vince Colosimo), a close friend, is deeply affected but seems to cope, until confronted by Anna's (Maria Theodorakis) instant affair with Gavin's younger, married brother, Simon (Nathaniel Dean). His own role in Gavin's final moments haunts him, too. Gavin's mother, Margaret (Judi Farr), having arrived from interstate just in time to witness her son's dying moments, feels unwelcome in the house, while Frank (Nicholas Bishop) seeks to drown his grief in gay bars. But Gavin's influence remains strong and continues to impact on his friends.
Review by Louise Keller:
There's renewed interest in this film by Tony Ayres, now released as part of the Iconic Australian Film Collection, since the release of Ayres' latest film, the acclaimed Home Song Stories. Early scenes of administering morphine will hit a chord with anyone who has nursed a terminally ill patient, but as the film progresses, the theme of death is overtaken by themes of the living. An exploration of characters sharing grief, Walking on Water is a moody, thoughtful film filled with nuance of emotion and performance.
Issues of grief, guilt, fidelity and laying blame come to the fore, and how trivial the words 'Does anyone need counselling?' seem after the long wait for death is over. In his feature film debut, Tony Ayres has captured all the discomfort, conflicts and disquiet of the moment - between those living in the house and Gavin's family who feel like strangers.
While it is easy to understand Ayres' repeated reflections through the use of water, at times it does seem contrived. But like water, emotions are relentless, and the whirlwind that begins with Gavin's death spirals in its intensity until it comes to its natural still eventuality. Vince Colosimo masters every complex emotion to make us understand Charlie, while Maria Theodorakis displays vulnerability through her masked veneer. All the performances are excellent and I especially like Judi Farr's portrayal of Gavin's mother, whose emotional closeness to her son is marred by the feelings of being an outsider.
It's an emotional rollercoaster ride, as Gavin's death becomes a catalyst for each character to reassess his life. The dramatic curve is reminiscent of real life, and by its very unpredictability may not satisfy everyone. This is indeed a subtle film driven by internal conflicts that will appeal to film lovers and anyone who is interested in the exploration of human behaviour.
Published December 13, 2007
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WALKING ON WATER: DVD (MA)
CAST: Vince Colosimo, Maria Theodorakis, Judi Farr, Nicholas Bishop, Anna Lise Phillips, Nathaniel Dean, Daniel Roberts, David Bonney
PRODUCER: Liz Watts
DIRECTOR: Tony Ayres
SCRIPT: Roger Monk
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Humphreys
EDITOR: Reva Childs
MUSIC: Antony Partos
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rebecca Cohen
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 26, 2002
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: December 5, 2007