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Turtle Beach Review

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Greta Scaccchi plays a photographer who lives in Sydney with her family, but when she hears of the Refugee Crisis, she ups sticks and leaves to capture on film the plight of the famous Vietnamese boat people. Proving difficult to get a visa, she hooks up with an old friend and they travel together.

★★★★

In the light of this example, one feels compelled to suggest that filmmakers be compulsorarily tested for suitability before being allowed to embark on Subjects Of A Serious Nature. For what should have been a superior look at one country’s troubles in the midst of the Vietnamese refugee crisis instead ends up somewhere between Dynasty and a promo reel for the Malaysian tourist board.

In it we find Scacchi (who reportedly got hit on the head with a coconut during filming and might, therefore, be excused this serious error of judgement) as the careerist photojournalist who abandons her children and estranged husband back in Sydney and heads for Malaysia, determined to expose the horrors of life for the Vietnamese boat people. Initially barred from visiting the refugee camps by the Australian authorities, Scacchi uses her friendship with Chen — the wife of the Australian commissioner and an ex-Saigon bar girl who also happens to be searching for her long-lost children among the refugees — to get what she wants.

Needless to say, the realisation that Chen (often naked, frequently weeping but otherwise indistinguishable from her character in Twin Peaks) is prepared to lose all for the sake of her family fuels Scacchi’s own growing awareness that there’s more to life than capturing the next cover shot for Time magazine and that she must hot foot it back to hubbie and the kids — the somewhat hackneyed, if not downright offensive, subtext to this entire tragic affair being that a woman’s place is in the home.

Even with the best will in the world — there is, after all, an important message in here somewhere — one is hard-pressed to recommend this to any but the most avid Scacchi fans who, even so, will have to persevere a full 40 minutes into the film before the actress customarily gets her kit off and jumps into bed with the only eligible man in the picture (Malik, making a somewhat gratuitous appearance as love interest and deliverer of some of the worst movie dialogue of 1992). And with lines like “Don’t be frightened (to Scacchi), It’s only the poor having fun” at the scene of a Hindu festival, who needs Western patronage anyway?

Sadly this film wants to demonstrate the problems the Vietnamese faced during this time but instead with such a poor script they should have left it to someone more capable. With some truly shocking dialogue, the only people who should watch this are male Scaatchi fans who see her sans kit, but even that she's done better in other films.