Way back in the seventies, Colin Thiele wrote the novel, Storm Boy, which would become essential reading in schools across Australia.
The novel was subsequently turned into a movie and now writer Justin Monjo (“Jungle”, “The Secret Daughter (TV)”) and director Shawn Seet (“The Code (TV)”, “Underbelly (TV)”) update it for modern audiences.
It’s a much-loved tale, a story of one young boy who befriends a trio of pelicans in a remote part of Australia, whilst trying to protect the land from being turned into a hunting area.
Monjo and Seet handle things with delicacy and in Finn Little (“Tidelands (TV)”, “Crafty kingdom (TV)”) have found an absolute star who I am sure we’ll be seeing much, much more of.
Michael Kingley, Geoffrey Rush (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge”, “The Book Thief”), returns home to find his son Malcolm Downer, Erik Thomson (“800 Words (TV)”, “Accidents Happen”), is trying to purchase land from Aboriginals in order to mine.
Downer’s daughter, Madeline, Morgan Davies (“The Girlfriend Experience (TV)”, “Breath (Short)”), hates her father. She’s political and wants Michael to stop her father at the impending board meeting.
Kingley tells Madeline the story of the pelican’s, one in particular, Mr. Percival, who came back after being set free. We see this in flashback, with Jai Courtney (“Alita: Battle Angel”, “Suicide Squad”), as his father.
It’s the flashbacks that tug at the heart strings. These birds that enter their lives bring so much joy to a young Michael and open his father’s heart which is closed and broken after losing his life and daughter.
We also see Fingerbone Bill, Trevor Jamieson (“Rabbit-Proof Fence”, “Around The Block”), in these flashbacks too, as an aboriginal who helps young Michael with the birds, and befriends his father.
Whilst hunters, two in particular, continue to visit this small bit of land and hunt birds, young Michael is naturally concerned about the birds he has fathered all this time. Can he truly protect them though?
Storm Boy is a sad story, one that Monjo and Seet handle well, helped in no small part by fantastic performances from all those involved.
From Courtney to Rush, everyone is on their a-game but it’s in Finn Little that both have struck gold. This young boy has the weight of the entire movie on his shoulders, if he’s not good, neither is the film.
Luckily, he is an absolute star, it is he who tugs at your heart strings, who makes you feel, not just for him, but for the birds as well.
Storm Boy is a sad but delightful story, well told, well performed and well directed.