TL;DR – A heart-wrenching look at life in Australia on the cusp of the 1900s and at issues that are just as relevant today.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson Review –
There are many touchstones in Australian literature that you must look at in school, and one of the big ones from the 1800s is Henry Lawson. One of their more famous works is that of The Drover’s Wife, a story of life on the ‘frontier’ in 1983. It is an interesting tale of survival against the elements, but it also glosses over many realities of the time. Today we are looking at a film that takes that central premise and then reinterprets the story from a different perspective.
So to set the scene, it is 1893, and high up in the Snowy Mountains, a lone mother, Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell), is watching over her home and four children while her husband is away droving sheep on the high plains. Her husband is away for months at a time, so she has to be resourceful, like when she takes out a wandering bullock that was about to attack her kids. But as she is cooking the meat, the new town Sergeant Klintoff (Sam Reid) and his wife Louisa (Jessica De Gouw) arrive destitute after losing it all in the river. Molly helps them and sends them on their way because they can take her kids to town, so she can give birth uninterrupted.
So Season Two of Cleverman has come, hit us hard, and it’s now over. So we have had some time to think back and contemplate on the overarching themes for the season and how it worked, which is what we are going to do today. So today with our review we will look at how Season Two improved on Season One, look at the central themes and characters, and finally conclude on the importance of Cleverman. Before we start, just a warning that we will be talking about the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS]. Also, this will be looking more broadly at the season, if you what to look at individual episodes, then you can look at our reviews here: Revival, Bindawu, Dark Clouds, Muya, Skin & Borrowed Time.
TL;DR – Indeed everyone is on Borrowed Time, as choices come to a head in the season finale
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So we’ve reached the end of Season Two with the final episode Borrowed Time, and after five weeks of everyone making mistakes, tonight it all comes to a head. At the end of last week’s Skin (review) we had that shocking moment when Charlotte (Frances O’Connor) defending herself and her baby put a scalpel right into Slade’s (Iain Glen) neck, though we didn’t see him die. Now there is one thing you need to know about TV, and that is they are not dead until we see the body, and even then everything is up for grabs. Well, first up tonight not only do we find out, yep he’s dead, but we also find out that he ended up going nowhere in the end, because (and I had forgotten this) he got caught up in the blue wave at the end of Season One. That was a really powerful opener but Borrowed Time doesn’t stop there, and a reminder as we will be talking about the episode as a whole, there are [SPOILERS] ahead. Continue reading →
TL;DR – Today we find out that there are consequences for actions and what happens when you push things too far.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
So we have reached the penultimate episode of Cleverman’s sophomore season and we are starting to get a glimpse of the end game and how it presumes things are about to get significantly worse. So at the end of last week’s Muya (review), things reached a head and finally Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) stood up to take the mantle of cleverman and you can tell he’s serious because he unlocked his superhero costume, and you only earn the superhero costume when things are about to get real. However, at the end of last week we find many of our characters are in precarious places, Nerida (Jada Alberts) has lost the two girls under her protection, Charlotte (Frances O’Connor) has been kidnapped by Jarli (Clarence Ryan) and her future is still far from being safe, and Alinta (Tamala Shelton) is now trapped in her father Waruu’s (Rob Collins) house, which should be the safest place in the world for her, yet somehow we can’t feel like it is. Now we will be discussing the episode in depth so there may be some [SPOILERS] moving forward. Continue reading →
TL;DR – Relationships and repaired and torn, and for some blackmail is the least of their worries
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So at the end of last week’s episode Dark Clouds (review) we find that Aunty Linda (Deborah Mailman) didn’t just cause Koen’s (Hunter Page-Lochard) parents deaths through negligence, but she was actively trying to kill them, and then Waruu (Rob Collins) just slit Koen’s throat and slapped on some red kryptonite sap from a Melaleuca to stop him from regenerating. Oh boy, was that a lot to take in, and we have had a week to learn what everyone’s fate will be, and tonight’s episode Muya packs all the same punches and more, as we continue our drive to the end of the season. Just a warning, there will be some [SPOILERS] going forward so be careful. Continue reading →
TL;DR – As Season Two continues we start to see where the lines in the sand will be drawn, and characters are starting to take a stand against the coming storm
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So we continue our look at Cleverman’s second season, and after the carnage of Revival (review), we get a couple of episodes to hold our breath … nope, we continue steam rolling through the season with carnage in our wake. So today we will be discussing both Bindawu & Dark Clouds so there may be some spoilers going forward, however, if you want to be careful and have not watched these episodes, then I would suggest avoiding the paragraph on openings and cliff-hangers towards the bottom.
TL;DR – Season 2 opens with a bang, leaves you wanting more, and fearing the worst.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Wow what an opener, I mean we loved Season One of Cleverman, but I don’t think anything prepared us for how this first episode of Season Two was going to play out. So to remind everyone of where we left off last season, Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) had rallied all the remaining residents of The Zone to fight the coming Containment Authority. His brother Waruu (Rob Collins) rejected his family and his people to stand with Jarrod Slade (Iain Glen) who is trying to unlock Hairy DNA and the power it possesses and that creep probably did something to his wife Charlotte’s (Frances O’Connor) pregnancy. Finally, Araluen (Tasma Walton) was able to escape the brothel she had been imprisoned in after killing the minister in charge. All through the season we were building up to the conflict, Koen was understanding and accepting his role as the Cleverman, and then bang season two opens and Koen is dead in a body bag, and you know nothing is safe anymore. So in our review today we are going to be covering all the aspects of the first episode of Season Two, so there will be [SPOILERS] for those who have not seen it yet. If you have not seen Revival yet, you can watch it easily on ABC IView, or SundanceTV, and you should go do that right now. Continue reading →
TL;DR – Cleverman is revolutionary TV show in many ways, its freshman season was a powerful work of cinema, though not a perfect one.
Score – 4 out of 5 Stars
For those who have not seen the show yet, and you should go fix that, Cleverman is the story of Australia in the not too distant future. Where we lock people up just because they are different or because it is politically convenient for the government to shift the blame on to them, where people have to shed aspects of their cultural identity to try and protect themselves from harm just because they are perceived as being different, and where the government can use the catch-all excuse of ‘national security’ to hide things from the population and to deflect condemnation of the international system. So you know it’s clear that this is fiction because that would never happen in modern Australia… To do my overview of the first season of the series I am probably going to spoil a couple of things, so you have been warned now to only proceed if you have watched the show.
TL;DR – ‘A Free Ranger’ is a quieter episode than last week, but in doing so it lulls us into a false sense of security so when the feels hit, they hit hard.
Score – 4/5 Stars
We have reached the half way point in the first season of Cleverman, and while ‘A Free Ranger’ is not as action packed as last week’s ‘Containment’, it deftly moves all the major players into position for the coming confrontation. People make choices that will no doubt come back to haunt them, players pick sides, people are being pushed aside, alliances are being sought, and double crossing is afoot.
TL;DR – A good pilot with an interesting story and characters, but needs to work a little more on world building to give the story context
Score – 3.5/5 Stars
Review – First Contact is the first episode of an interesting new Australian TV show Cleverman, a show that blends a future dystopic Australia, with its mythological past, whilst taking a megaphone to its present. The main thrust of the show is the story of two brothers Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) and Waruu (Rob Collins) who grew up in a walled off part of future Sydney called The Zone. Koen escaped his life and family, and runs a bar outside The Zone, as well as other less than legal business activities, while Waruu has become a pillar of the community in The Zone.