Review by Sam Wyatt
Director: Jim Lounsbury
Starring: Eamon Farren, Claire van der Boom
In cinemas on the 4th of December 2014
For the all the cyclical and cynical talk of “what is wrong” within the Australian film industry, Love is Now is a film that’s right. Too often filmmakers in this country can be so caught up in themselves that they forget, film is for all people, not just filmmakers. This is a warm as opposed to bleak film that’s not caught up in being Australian, being the baby of its creators or the moneymen. It’s simply a story for everyone.
Love is Now follows seasoned photographer Audrey (van der Boom) and amateur shutterbug Dean (Farren) as they cycle the NSW harvest trail on a journey of mystery, love, adventure and ultimately of discovery. A strange but oddly effective blend of mystery, romantic comedy and drama ensues and indeed this is a film with something for viewers of all tastes. Of note in the promotion of this film is the fact that it has been shot entirely on Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras.
This film’s key strength’s in developing a cathartic experience for the audience, namely the script and the edit, are also somewhat lacking in clarity at times. The cut is key to the climax of this film but can also confuse the viewer early on with conflicting senses of point of view. This is mostly an issue because of an unnecessary voiceover during the opening credits that is the redundant marking of a later plot point which stifles the lyrics of what is quite a nice song. As for the script, the ultimate arc of this story is quite powerful but scenes here and there that could be poignant give way to a shallow repetition of domestic conflict to the point where it frustrates and doesn’t help to generate the film’s insight.
It took me a while to warm to Dean. The viewer could definitely be given a more complete insight into what makes him tick beyond what is a very generic character. Having said that, following Dean’s journey of enlightenment is a deeply rewarding experience, more rewarding than many journey films. In this respect, it stands on a par with some of my all-time favourite films of this genre such as this year’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Of Farren and van der Boom, the latter definitely has the greater presence. To be fair, perhaps this is mainly to do with the limited content Farren was given to work with in the early parts of the film. The DSLR cinematography is very accomplished and appropriate for the story. While this is not the place to debate with the traditionalists about the merits of alternative camera systems or with these filmmakers over their limiting choice of low budget camera type, the reality that this film exemplifies is that cinematography is about skill, craft and practice, not just about the toys. The camera system is up to the individual film-maker.
It would have been very easy to be far less bold with what Love is Now sets out to do. The filmmakers should be applauded and we may hope they are the vanguard of a new generation of engaging Australian screen entertainers.