Sunday, December 16, 2007

Deep Down Miranda's Well

Oh, that could be misread as something entirely wrong. Anyway. Today is the birthday of the glorious Miranda Otto! It amazes me that Hollywood hasn't tapped Miranda Otto properly yet. She had thankless roles in Robert Zemeckis' wicked thriller What Lies Beneath and Steven Spielberg's lifeless War of the Worlds, a pivotal, if not entirely major, part in the final two Lord of the Rings films and a spattering of other projects - she's currently on Australian television in The Starter Wife, yikes. It's disappointing because she has been so good before.

I speak primarily of three specific Australian films that she made from 1997-1998. Let's take a look:

The Well (image at the top from this film) - This is a spooky Aussie murder mystery (or sorts) from 1997, and I would probably have to say that this is Otto's best performance. The film itself is very very amazing also and features some of the most beautifully scary cinematography I've ever seen (there is one particular tracking shot that blew my mind). It was nominated for 11 AFI awards - including one for Otto for best actress - including best film and won three awards for the production design, Laura Jones' screenplay and one for Pamela Rabe's lead performance up against Otto herself. It was also nominated for the Palm d'Or at Cannes. If you can find The Well I would urge you to give it a shot!

Doing Time for Patsy Cline - This is a strange movie, also from 1997, in which Otto plays the singing girlfriend of Richard Roxburgh, the two of whom give aspiring country singer Matt Day a ride to Tamworth. I really like this movie and am a fan of Otto in it. It won AFI awards for cinematography, costume design, original score and for Richard Roxburgh's lead performance as well as six other nominations.

In the Winter Dark - The film itself isn't that good - although I liked it much more than it's reputation suggests - but Otto is yet again fabulous as the loose cannon who inserts herself into the lives of Brenda Blethyn, Ray Barrett and Richard Roxburgh (again). The story revolves around the possible mysterious appearance of a large cat in the Australian wilderness - a myth that continues to surface year-in-year-out around here - and it won Miranda Otto yet another AFI nomination, this time for supporting actress as well as two other nominations for Barrett in best actor and for the film's cinematography. It's moody and, despite the wild setting, quite claustrophobic.

So, happy birthday Miranda. May America finally realise what to do with you!


Paul Martin said...

Check out her performance in the Camera d'Or winning Love Serenade (1996). It screened at ACMI a few months ago

Kamikaze Camel said...

I actually couldn't stand Love Serenade. Not my cuppa, I guess.