Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

Movies Review

December Boys

By
December Boys
Director: Rod Hardy
Screenwriter: Marc Rosenberg
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Thompson, Victoria Hill, Sullivan Stapleton, Kris McQuade, Teresa Palmer
Running time: 105 mins
Certificate: 12A

You can't fault the boy's ambition. With his latest film, Daniel Radcliffe is making an audacious bid to distance himself from the juvenile thrills of the Harry Potter franchise. December Boys shows him lighting up, lusting over kinky pictures and cupping a pair of adolescent breasts, all in the name of fumbling towards manhood. Dumbledore, it’s safe to presume, would not approve.

Four orphan boys spend the summer with Skipper (McQuade) and Bandy (Thompson), an ageing couple who live in a remote seaside hamlet. Initially the boisterous lads revel in their new-found freedom – their new wards are much milder than the nuns who usually oversee them – but trouble is brewing in Shangri-La. When Misty (Cormie) learns that a local couple is keen to adopt one of the boys, the group’s fraternal bond is severely tested. The patriarchal Maps (Radcliffe) attempts to hold his surrogate family together, but separation seems inevitable.

With its clunky voiceover, hackneyed characters and clichéd dialogue – "She was the most beautiful woman in the world…" - December Boys feels like a soapy made-for-TV movie. Sadly, it lacks the fizzy plotting and surging narrative thrust of your average afternoon melodrama: the film's one moment of tension comes during a ludicrous Home and Away-style drowning scene. Marc Rosenberg's screenplay skims the surface of weighty dramatic themes – sex, religion, death – but offers little in the way of insight. What's more, the film-makers' attention to detail is woeful: why are the boys still perving over fifties pin-up Jayne Mansfield if seventies hits from Creedence Clearwater Revival are being spun on the radio?

However, December Boys is partially redeemed by its stunning cinematography. Director Hardy offers several striking vistas of the unspoilt Aussie coastline: Qantas' international marketing department will cherish the day this film was given the green light. And his visual flair is not confined to the bucolic: the contrast between the pert, nubile breasts of Maps' coquettish love interest (Palmer) and Skipper's cancer-ravaged chest is the film’s one truly memorable moment. But December Boys' saving grace is Radcliffe, who offers a well-rounded, touching performance as the troubled Maps, a boy on the cusp of finding out who he really is. Unfortunately, he shares his screen-time with a bunch of youngsters whose acting talent is secondary to their authentically waif-like appearances.

December Boys manages to offer a few cheap thrills for Radcliffe aficionados, but they're hidden like chocolate drops in a box of stale bran flakes. Still, if carrying a weak movie is a rite-of-passage for any wannabe A-lister, it's hard to deny that Radcliffe's ascent towards superstardom is progressing nicely.

You May Like

More: Movies

Comments

Loading...