Armond White: Australia’s Once-Great Fred Schepisi Goes Off Course

Written by City Arts on . Posted in Arts & Film.

What happened to Fred Schepisi? His newest film, The Eye of the Storm, is such a messed-up family comedy, it seems the work of an unhinged amateur who is both amused by his subject and yet incapable of dealing with it.

Elizabeth Hunter (Charlotte Rampling), a dowager dying in her Australian mansion, is visited by the two middle-aged children she mistreated. Son Basil (Geoffrey Rush) is a scalawag actor in a second-rate traveling troupe, and daughter Dorothy (Judy Davis), now divorced from her blue-blooded European husband, is adrift. Both need money—as well as the motherly affection they never got. The mixed emotions of their death watch parallel Schepisi’s mixed approach. The confused structure and listless tone are unlike the stimulating precision of Schepisi’s past movies.

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