Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beautiful (2009)

Here's the reason why I decided to rent this Australian film: the DVD artwork which features the lovely Tahyna Tozzi. Speaking about the plot, Dean O'Flaherty's Beautiful is not the most original thriller set in suburbia that one will see. With that said, the only good thing about this film is definitely the cast's performance.

While the film was shot in Adelaide, the story takes place in an Australian suburb called Sunshine Hills. Behind its veneer of perfection, the town is shaken by three teenage girls' mysterious disappearance. Besides, the prime suspects are the owners (Asher Keddie and Socratis Otto) of the house number 46 to be behind these abductions.

After she had broken up with her boyfriend, Suzy (Tahyna Tozzi), the girl-next-door of every boy's dreams, persuades Daniel (Sebastian Gregory), a fourteen-year old boy and also her neighbour, to uncover the truth for her. Obviously, Suzy expects Daniel to do all the legwork, because Daniel has a photo camera on him most of the time. Secondly, deep inside her, she knows that Daniel has an obsessive crush for her. Besides, since he's a loner, Daniel sees an opportunity to develop a friendship with Suzy.

Because of its script's obvious lack of originality, Beautiful runs on fumes. This means that the film is nothing but a collage of ideas that were seen in American and Canadian films and TV series that take place in suburbia. For instance, by introducing us to supporting characters who hide dark secrets, the film is a little bit laughable copy of the award-winning Canadian TV series Durham County. Secondly, how many times have you seen neighbours who spy on each other in suburban dramas? Anyway, the list goes on.

On another note, while the script isn't ground breaking, the two leading actors' performance can be considered as a tour de force. Sebastian Gregory and Tahyna Tozzi clearly believe in their characters, but the true star of the film is the latter. Her character is definitely more or less a variation of other femmes fatales and female manipulators. Nonetheless, Tozzi has the talent to 1) inject the right amount of sexuality into her character's demeanour and 2) to give us the feeling that her character wants to befriend Daniel.

Finally, while the film has a lot of flaws in its script, it's saved by the cast's performance. While things are never spelled out for us, we can see that Dean O'Flaherty has the talent to canvassed his two leading characters with a certain subtlety.

Rating: 3/5

Origin:Australian (2009)
Length:103 minutes
Screenplay:Dean O'Flaherty
Director:Dean O'Flaherty
Starring:Sebastian Gregory, Tahyna Tozzi, Asher Keddie and Peta Wilson

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