*EXCERPT FROM VARIETY REVIEW, BY RICHARD KUIPERS*
Shawn Seet's adaptation of Colin Thiele's treasured Australian children's novel is fine family entertainment. Talented juvenile actor Little captures all the joy that comes with the special bond between a sensitive boy and his best animal pal. Though altered from how it unfolds in the novel and original film, Mr Percival’s participation in a dramatic sea rescue is exciting and streams nicely into grandfather Michael’s conversations with Maddy about child-parent relationships.
Seet, a highly regarded TV and miniseries director whose previous feature was the underrated “Two Fists, One Heart” (2008), and writer Justin Monjo (“Jungle”), elegantly weave details of Storm Boy and Hideaway Tom’s tragic past into the tale. Themes of loss, grief and separation are pitched at just the right level to resonate with children and adults alike. Seet brings everything to a moving and meaningful conclusion with a lovely piece of magic realism.
Handsomely filmed in earthy tones by DP Bruce Young, and never once looking like a tourism promo reel, “Storm Boy” is crafted with care and class. Of special note is superbly detailed production design by Melinda Doring (“The Sapphires,” “Berlin Syndrome”), and costume design by Louise McCarthy that understands perfectly how 1930s and ‘40s fashions would still be in vogue in 1950s rural Australia.
A very beautiful cameo by David Gulpilil, the great indigenous Australian actor who played Fingerbone Bill in 1976, is another of the film’s many pleasures.
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