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Somersault Review

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16 year-old Heidi (Cornish) runs away from home after being caught making out with her mother’s boyfriend. She ends up in an off-season ski resort, seeking love from anyone who will give it to her and ensnaring a cattle-rancher (Worthington) who has his o

★★★★★

The little film that could from Oz arrives on our shores weighed down with prizes — and expectation. Its record haul of 13 awards at the Australian equivalent of the Oscars (the AFIs) and a handful of other independent prizes suggest this is something very special. But while there’s no denying that Somersault is different and visually impressive enough to make an impact, it’s also so wrapped up in its own theory and imagery that it ends up as cold as the ski resort in which it is set.

It does makes for a welcome change from the brash, sun-baked comedies

we’ve come to expect of Australia. The frosty palate of icy blues and whites suits its detached heroine, who strives for intimacy by indulging in a string of sexual encounters that skirt on the edge of danger. Newcomer Abbie Cornish is undeniably impressive and her preternatural sex appeal on full display, with her character’s tendency to throw her mittens aside at even the briefest hint of a shag leaving her exposed in every way for much of the film.

But what’s missing, apart from her clothes, is any sort of development for Heidi, while other characters (notably Sam Worthington’s confused rancher) are only just beginning to start their personal journeys when the film finishes.

It’s deliberately oblique, but the remarkable visuals and soundtrack will stay with you long after the “so what?” plot is forgotten.

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