My Twisted Valentine's.
The one time of the year here that the gang gets together and does a three week run on movies that have that twisted love angle or something morbid that happened on Valentine's Day. Now we've seen so far necrophilia, science fiction in the form of a Stephen King novel and two teens just loving the attention of getting off by killing people. But today I got the chance to review a movie I had selected for our lovely event. The film I chose is an Australian mystery film with science elements added in, based on a 1967 novel of the same name by Joan Lindsay this film is billed to be one of Australia's best movies. Holding a 94% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and being accused of not ending how a mystery movie should end. So without a further adue I present.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
The movie is similar to the novel as it tells the story of a group of girls and their teacher who are on a class trip for a picnic at Hanging Rock on St. Valentine's Day in the year 1900. Now if you do your history and go back in time that in 1900 Valentine's Day was not on a Saturday but was during the middle of the week in that year but this proves that the story could not be based on a true event or was actually real making this story a work of fiction. But back to the story the basis is that on this on day that three girls and their teacher vanished without a trace. When it comes to this angle many will sit there and try to play the blame game of it was this person or that person. But in truth with this movie you can't exactly do that as you can't blame anyone of the girls cause you have to ponder the thought of how could they've done it? You have to understand that they just vanished into thin air and there is no proof of foul play its just that they went up on the rocks and never came back and this caused a whirl wind of problems for the school cause without any signs like a body or clothing or anything its like I said they just poofed and were gone.
Now the film itself is filmed beautifully in my opinion. The scenery of the southern part of Australia is something should be seen. Films from the 70's captured such images that I feel last a lifetime cause they caught the scenery. The lush colors of green and brown as the bluness of the sky with its white clouds even make a statment as this film should be seen not for the story itself but for what the filmmaker theirself caught on camera or chose to put forth in his film. Peter Weir in my opinion is a genius with this film as he stuck to the source material but painted his own picture with his camera work. His work has inspired so many as they felt the same deep feelings for this film as I did, seeing its true beauty despite the material being a mystery. Now as I noticed I could also feel that there was a bullying mentality in this film between a teacher and a student as the teacher practically took it upon herself to make one girl feel as though she never belonged at the school. To me this was distracting more than half done the movie because how could someone be somcold to a younger generation but I had to keep telling myself that even in the year 1900 people treated other like this all the time because of that richer or poorer mentality.
But like I said before I bored you here with my visuals the film itself hangers on the mystery story as the girls and teacher disappeared but then another student kills herself without giving any in depth reason why this girl would take her life but one has to wonder was she murdered to cover something up or was she just a depressed girl whose reason for doing this was so she could be with her friends in another life. But the science fiction element to this tale hinders at how time supposedl stopped in the story and then went back to normal. But like the book the movie ends with the narrator telling the viewert that the main teacher in the film was later found dead herself as she had thrown herself from Hanging Rock to the ground below and that the mystery of the disappearing girls and teacher has never been solved and the files of the case were later lost due to a fire putting to rest that nothing was ever answered.
Now the original plan for the book was to have the mystery being solved but Lindsay was convinced by her publisher to leave the solving of the mystery on the cutting room floor. So she did it wasn't til 20 years later and after her death was the 18th chapter of the book was published as "The Secret of Hanging Rock". Its in this final chapter that we discover that the girls experienced dizzy spells and felt like they were being forced from the inside to go further into the rock and there they found another woman who shows them after they had discard an article of their clothing that they were stuck in time ad the clothes froze in the air and casted no shadow and its here that the sci-fi elemen took place as the girls supposedly stepped through a hole in space explaining the freezing watches and time standing still. It is here that we learn this was the reason for their disappearance. Would this had helped the movie? Probably for the people who at the time watched it and wanted answers but never got them for 20 years but the film itself to me stands the test of time cause its so beautiful and captures the story so perfectly. I made me want answers and in this day and age its not hard to get those answers with technology today.
So in my closing if your looking for a film to watch from the era where practically the best movies came from then I highly recommend this film. If you need to read the book first go ahead and do that cause no matter what its the same as in the book as in the movie. Trust me if you like mystery flicks you'll like it but you may get frustrated and pisses in the same breath because they never really answer anything that happened. So hunker down and watch some Australian love here because this film doesn't disappoint unless your gonna go after the ending and know theres nothing there for you but more unaswered questions like an episode of Lost, So enjoy the rest of Twisted Valentine's and I'll see you later!!!!
reviewed by Bucky