Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Dressmaker (3 Stars)

This film is described on its Wikipedia page as an Australian spaghetti western revenge comedy-drama. Wow. It sounds like that was written by someone who had absolutely no idea what the film was about. Unfortunately the film itself doesn't seem to know what it's about.

The film opens with Tilly Dunnage, played by Kate Winslet, getting off the train in Dungatar, Australia, and saying "I'm back, bitches". This sets the stage for revenge, but we see very little revenge as the film progresses. Tilly was sent to Europe 20 years previously because she was accused of murdering a boy when she was 10. She claims to remember nothing about it, and she tries to find out from the townspeople what happened. She doesn't have revenge on her mind, she has investigation.

During her time in Europe she lived in London, Paris and Milan, and she was trained as a dressmaker in Paris. She earns money by making dresses for the women in Dungatar, but they still don't trust her.

The timeframe doesn't make sense to me. The film takes place in 1951, and she was 10 years old when she was sent to Europe in 1931. That means she was 18 when World War Two broke out. Was she already living in Paris in 1939, under German occupation? Even if she wasn't in Paris, she would still have suffered the effects of the war in London and Milan. It's strange that no mention of the war is made.

The film is an unusual quirky comedy. Maybe the book on which it's based makes sense. The film doesn't.

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