Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Movie Review - The Whale

The Whale director Darren Aronofsky has somewhat perfected the harrowing character study.  Sometimes, he’s done so through magical realism, as in Black Swan with its expertly tantalising verisimilitude, blurring the real and unreal. Other times – and this is where The Whale tends, like the lilt of a dead flower – he has done so through a torturous, unfettered, rending realism, exemplified in the agonising watch that is Requiem for a Dream.

And the secret to that reifying of life's most painful abstractions is Aronofsky's ability to elevate his performers. Somehow, he has continued to lift the bar, as it were. How is it that someone with the credentials of Brendan Fraser – relegated to roles as an action hero or a himbo – can put to screen such a heart-wrenching performance as he gives in The Whale? Part of that may be the years of pent-up frustration on Fraser’s part after being blacklisted by Hollywood in an alleged sexual-assault scandal (Fraser the victim, it must be noted), but that, for this film, is neither here nor there. For Fraser, this isn't a return to form – he's never shown this dramatic range before - it's a pioneering foray into this new acting territory.

As the reclusive, morbidly obese English teacher Charlie, Fraser attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter, played by girl-of-the-moment Sadie Sink of Stranger Things fame. Here, Fraser the performance of not only a lifetime but of any actor anywhere in the last ten years. It's no going out on a limb to say that he'll be duly rewarded with Best Actor at this year's Academy Awards.

Watching The Whale, one is stunned by his deeply touching embodiment of the role, which lifts everything around it, including Aronofsky’s film – an at times melodramatic and ordinary picture. Brendan Fraser makes The Whale worth watching.

The Whale will arrive at the Bowen Summergarden Cinema on Saturday, March 25.

Brendan Fraser gives the performance of a lifetime in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale

In other news