REVIEW: Tim Winton’s The Turning

tim_wintons_turning_featurePowerful performances,  visually striking, and intriguing snapshots from various individual tales makes for a stellar Australian cinematic event.

I went into the cinema this past weekend with no pre-conceptions of Tim Winton’s The Turning, my only prior knowledge before viewing the film was the trailer that gave me a brief insight, and that I was aware the film was adapted from Tim Winton‘s novel by the same name.

My only disadvantage without being familiar with the novel was that I was unaware there were recurring characters throughout the various chapters, although the themes soon became very apparent.


The standout short film from my viewing would have to be Yaron Lifschitz’, ‘Immunity‘. The segment played out towards the end of the film and by that point I had witnessed various approaches to adapting the stories, this performance piece caught me slightly off-guard. The narrative was beautifully shot and the dance troupe portrayed an intense physical manifestation of the protagonist’s internal monologue. The piece was one of the more powerful moments in the whole film although it was based on a less dramatic source of the novel.


Another visually powerful chapter came from director, Stephen Page, with ‘Sand‘. The cinematography in this segment was striking and the narrative had me curious and captivated. There were a few chapters that had absorbed me in such a way that when they ended I was disappointed there wasn’t more. ‘Cockleshell‘, featuring Puberty Blues star, Brenna Harding told a tale of a not-so average romance between a young man and the girl-next-door. I was left on a cliffhanger and wish there were television series that featured that kind of grunt a short film could muster. (Also the fact, Tony Ayres, showrunner of the outstanding The Slap, did it every favour)


I didn’t want to love the Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh-led chapter, ‘Reunion‘, as I thought it would most likely be an average crowd favourite, but the chapter was just too charming to ignore. I enjoyed the hell out of the performances and found myself laughing at the awkwardness. The long shots used in this segment were impressive and the actors are to be commended. The segment was a much needed reprieve from the intensity of the subject matter of  previous chapters.

The film in itself functions without any further explanation, although upon reading the program after the film, a lot of stories came together and revealed that chapters that appeared to end abruptly, were resolved in later moments.

For the weaknesses in some chapters, it is made up for with the cinematography or performances by the cast. There’s so much to takeaway from Tim Winton‘s adapted best-seller, and as I’ve only recalled my favourite moments, there’s a bountiful exhibition of narrative and style that would impress any type of audience.


Tim Winton’s The Turning is showing for a limited season. Get tickets here.

Words by Dan