REVIEW: SLEEPING BEAUTY (2011)

 

CAST

Emily Browning (Sucker Punch)
Rachael Blake (Gods of Egypt)
Ewen Leslie (The Mule)
Michael Dorman (Triangle)
Eden Falk (The Great Gatsby)
Mirrah Foulkes (The Gift)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)

Lucy (Emily Browning) is a university student who holds a number of odd jobs: she volunteers as a test subject at the university medical research lab, works at a coffee shop, and makes photocopies at an office. Her roommates dislike her, and she spends her time visiting Birdmann (Ewen Leslie), who is attracted to her, but very respectful. Although she does not appear to return his affection, she appears to be happier when with him.

Lucy responds to an ad and is invited to meet Clara (Rachael Blake), who offers her a job: freelance silver service in lingerie. Lucy agrees, and Clara tells her that she will never be penetrated during these encounters. Clara and Thomas inspect her body. Clara says she will call Lucy by the name Sarah. Lucy gets beauty treatments before arriving for the event. She is the only girl dressed in white lingerie; the other women seem to be much older, wear severe makeup, and have black lingerie designed to reveal much more than to conceal. The event is a formal dinner party at an elegant home. Lucy serves drinks for the party and goes home with the money she made from it.

After one other session as a serving girl, Lucy gets a call from Clara’s assistant Thomas (Eden Falk) for a different request. Lucy is driven to a country mansion, where Clara offers Lucy a new role with the clients, wherein she will drink some tea and then fall into a deep sleep. Lucy is seen lying in a large bed, sedated, as Clara leads in the man who hosted the first dinner party. After Clara reminds the man of the no-penetration rule, he tells Clara about a book his brother gave him on his thirtieth birthday, and she leaves. He strips, caresses Lucy’s body, and cuddles up next to her.

Lucy is evicted from her apartment by her roommates. She instead rents a much more expensive apartment. After two more sleeping sessions at Clara’s house, Birdmann calls her. He has overdosed on painkillers, and she visits him as he dies. She takes off her shirt and gets in bed with him, sobbing but making no effort to help him. At Birdmann’s funeral service, Lucy asks a former acquaintance if he will marry her. Dumbfounded, he refuses, citing his new relationship, and several character flaws in Lucy.

Lucy is fired from her office job and buys a small, concealable camera. She takes drugs with a co-worker, goes night-swimming with him, and wakes up naked in her apartment with him. The next morning, she is hung over and late for her assignment with Clara. Once Lucy arrives, she asks Clara if she can see what happens during the sessions while she is asleep. Clara refuses, saying it will put her clients at risk of blackmail. Right after being placed on the bed for the session, however, Lucy awakes and removes the small camera which she had concealed in her mouth. She is able to set the camera and return to bed before being discovered. The client is once again the first man, but this time, he also drinks the tea with a much larger dose of the drug.

The morning after, Clara comes in and checks the man’s pulse, showing no surprise when he cannot be awakened. She then tries to wake Lucy but is at first unable to do so, eventually having to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Lucy awakes and, discovering that the naked man lying beside her is dead, screams. Throughout the whole film, Lucy was quiet, passive, and stoic, now when she sees the situation, she finally releases emotions—the sleeping beauty, now awake. The film ends with the scene captured by the camera that Lucy had installed: the dead old man and the sleeping girl both lying on the bed.

Sleeping Beauty is a well-made film, and is artistically brilliant. It has a distinctly Australian ‘feel’ to it (especially the sarcasm and humour). It’s a complex film, with multiple layers, and it slowly gains pace – until its climactic finale

 

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REVIEW: TRIANGLE

CAST
Melissa George (Alias)
Michael Dorman (Killer Elite)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Henry Nixon (The Landing)
Rachael Carpani (McLeod’s Daughters)
Emma Lung (Wonderland)
Single mother Jess prepares to take her autistic son Tommy on a boat trip with her friend Greg. While Jess tidies up the house, the doorbell rings, but no one is there. Jess later arrives at the harbor alone and boards Greg’s boat. Joining them for the trip are Victor, a runaway teen who lives with Greg; Sally and Downey, married friends of Greg; and Heather, a friend of Sally’s. While on the boat out at sea, they are overwhelmed by a storm and Heather is swept out into the water when the boat capsizes. When the storm clears, the others climb onto the upturned boat.
When an ocean liner arrives, the group board it, only to find it apparently deserted, though Jess experiences a sense of déjà vu as they explore. Various strange occurrences take place on the ship, hinting that there is someone else on board, though the person remains unseen. Jess eventually witnesses the others die one by one: Victor from a wound in his head, while Greg, Sally and Downey are shot by a burlap-masked shooter. The shooter chases Jess to the ship’s front deck, but she fights back; she disarms and sends her assailant overboard.
Jess then hears yelling, and sees herself and the others alive and standing on Greg’s upturned boat, in the position they had been in earlier. Jess secretly trails the group when they board the ship again, realizing that she is in a causality loop, whereby she is the unseen figure of earlier. Jess attempts to warn Victor, only to accidentally impale his head on a wall hook. She flees deeper into the ship and finds evidence that the loop has repeated many times before. Jess decides that she can change the way events play out, but another counterpart of hers from an earlier loop is still on board the ship and kills the others one by one. This older counterpart is then killed and thrown overboard by Jess’ newer counterpart, and the loop repeats again. Greg’s upturned boat and its survivors return, and Jess realizes the time loop restarts when everyone is killed. Desperate to stop the loop and prevent them from boarding at all, Jess sets everything from the first loop into motion, and she herself becomes the shooter. When she is disarmed, she urges her counterpart to kill everyone when they return, before falling off the ship.
Jess awakens washed ashore and returns home, only to find herself returned to earlier that morning. As she watches from outside, it is revealed that Jess abuses Tommy out of anger toward his autism. Promising to stop the abuse, Jess distracts her counterpart with the doorbell and kills her in order to take her place. Jess then leaves with Tommy in her car, only to find evidence that this sequence of events has happened many times before as well. Their car is hit by a truck and Tommy is killed, leaving Jess alone. A taxi driver approaches and Jess accepts a ride to the harbor, where she joins the others on Greg’s boat, setting the events of the loop in motion again.
The atmosphere in “Triangle” is a mixture of weird and scary, but even if it progressively gets scarier and scarier it never gets too weird. The director kept the film very strictly under control and therefore there is no obvious plot holes or useless scenes.  Melissa George did a very good job in this film and helped a lot to make it a success as her character (Jess) is the center of all the story and all other actors play supporting roles.