This film raises the topic of how do you remake a classic and much loved film. Storm Boy was released over 40 years ago, adapted from the beloved novel by Colin Thiele. The film has a strong South Australian pedigree being set in the remote coastal Coorong in South Australia.
The modern day version revisits Storm Boy 40 years later, now a mega wealthy businessman known as Mike Kingsley (Geoffrey Rush). The narrative of the film is told through flashbacks as Mike, in confessional mode, reveals to his granddaughter his early childhood traumas. This time is somewhat of a reckoning as Mike has not revisited this time of his childhood.
The audience is introduced to the central story of how ‘storm boy’ grows up mostly alone and left to his own devices on the Coorong. He is befriended by a local aboriginal man, Fingerbone Bill (Trevor Jamieson) and there is a brief misty homage to the father of Fingerbone Bill (David Gulpilil).
The young Storm Boy’s father, Hideaway Tom (Jai Courtney) is suitably restrained as the grief stricken loner fisherman. The film then introduces the star performer, Mr Percival – a large and devoted pelican. The film is subtitled ‘Let your heart soar’ and this is made easy as Mr Percival becomes the constant companion to not only storm boy (Finn Little), but the whole township.
There are a lot of extreme close ups of the characters, including the pelicans, we are in intimate mode here and there is a plenty of charm on display. However although the film has a young boy and his adopted pet pelican at its core it is not designed for very young children who will struggle to meld the concept of a story told via flashbacks.
The Coorong also takes centre stage as the historical issue of creating a Coorong sanctuary remains very pertinent to today’s struggle to care for our rivers systems and the environment. Perhaps the film could have left a few more ragged edges, Fingerbone Bill looks very well maintained, as does most of the cast. The film’s message of unconditional friendship is beautifully told, but be warned, take your hanky.
Storm Boy screens nationally across Australia. For more information, visit: www.stormboythefilm.com for details.
Image: Finn Little as Storm Boy with Mr Percival – courtesy of Ambience Entertainment
Review: Jenny Esots – courtesy of All About Entertainment