A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL: DVD
Young Dr Shorkinghorn (Wenham) is on the verge of discovering the key to the ageing process and needs money to finish his work. Grace Michael (Mitchell) of the Grace Foundation could be the source of the money, but when he arrives at the estate for the weekend to discuss his work, he finds that his ex-fiancee, Kate (O'Connor), is after the same funding - with the same project. But that is the leats of his problems, as he meets Grace's husband, Godfrey Usher (Rush), the country's Treasurer and closet Satanist. He and Kate are competing - and yet brought together - by the weird, startling antics of their hosts. It's the weekend from hell. They get their money - but at what price?
Review by Louise Keller:
Original, fresh and mostly engaging, A Little Bit of Soul has the stamp of writer/director Peter Duncan over it. And Duncan has a great sense of the absurd - evident afresh in this film which was released theatrically in March 1998 and is now available on DVD. Like Duncan's previous film, Children of the Revolution, A Little Bit of Soul starts with a wonderfully wacky idea. The notion of incorporating the political angle into the melee together with satanism is so off-the-wall that it works rather brilliantly.
The juxtapositioning of ideas and scenes is most effective - like Geoffrey Rush mopping up the bloodied bathroom after the body has been removed, with a glass of red wine in hand. The story premise is novel and intriguing; my reservations concern the eventual plot development which I found rather muddled and overworked. Also overworked are some of the performances, which if directed to play the roles straight instead of for laughs, would have been more satisfying. The wonderful absurdity of these complex characters could be better enhanced this way.
Never for a moment did I believe that David Wenham nor Frances O'Connor were genius-type scientists, but that's neither here nor there. O'Connor is the best thing in the film - she lights up and steals every scene she is in, with her natural poise and charismatic screen appeal. Geoffrey Rush is at times droll and devlish, while rather mannered; Heather Mitchell gets away with most of the business with a terrific presence. I especially like the effective use of music in this film - where at times, the lyric of the song, spells out the sentiment or message. And Nigel Westlake's music was beautifully recorded by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
A Little Bit of Soul is an entertaining romp into the absurd with characters so impossibly interesting that the ride is one of the wacky wonderful kind. On the DVD there are interviews with Geoffrey Rush, writer/director Peter Duncan and members of the cast and crew.
Published February 24, 2005
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A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL: DVD (M)
CAST: Geoffrey Rush, Frances O'Connor, David Wenham, Heather Mitchell, John Gaden
PRODUCER: Peter Duncan, Simon Martin, Martin McGrath, Peter J. Voeten
DIRECTOR: Peter Duncan
SCRIPT: Peter Duncan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Martin McGrath
EDITOR: Simon Martin
MUSIC: Nigel Westlake
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Campbell
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
PRESENTATION: Pan and scan; full screen;
SPECIAL FEATURES: Interviews with Geoffrey Rush, Peter Duncan and members of cast and crew
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: February 23, 2004