Film Review: Winged Creatures (2009)

15 Jul

wingedcreatures3

Ordinary day, ordinary diner, ordinary people. Until the extraordinary happens.Waitress and single mother Carla (Kate Beckinsale) has served Dr Laraby (Guy Pearce) his takeout coffee and will soon attend to Charlie (Forest Whitaker) who has just been given a (possibly fatal) cancer prognosis. Suddenly the everyday calm is shattered by the loud crack of gunfire as an almost unseen sniper starts to shoot indiscriminately at patrons and staff. Two kids, Anne and Jimmy (Dakota Fanning and Josh Hutcherson), take cover under their table as the gunman fires, and although we don’t see the full sequence or consequences of this random violence until later we do know that the lives of everyone there have been irrevocably changed.

This is a poster

This is a poster

WINGED CREATURES is the first American film from Australian director Rowan Woods, responsible for THE BOYS and LITTLE FISH (with Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill), and is an unusually thought-provoking story which, although there are maybe too many strands, features some very powerful performances. As the film unfolds we get caught up in the disparate lives of the various characters, and follow Charlie, who is slightly injured in the shooting, taking his luck to the casino where he wins and loses a fortune. Dr Laraby then begins to blame himself for the episode when he realises he unwittingly welcomed the gunman into the diner, and of the two children, Anne finds a religious fervour and Charlie becomes mute.

With a stellar cast, including Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson as his daughter, and nominee Jackie Earle Haley as Jimmy’s dad, WINGED CREATURES, while not quite in the same league as Paul Haggis’ 2005 ensemble hit CRASH which brought together a group of people affected by a chance incident, will stay with you long after the cinema lights go up.

MIKE CHILDS

Urban Cinefile review with Louise Keller and Andrew L Urban {link}

David Stratton interviews Rowan Woods about WINGED CREATURES on At the Movies {link}

Interview with Rowan woods on Screen Australia for LITTLE FISH {link}

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