Gregor Jordan's Dirt Music is beautifully shot, capturing the lush scenery of Australia in a way that provides for a gorgeous backdrop to a somewhat stalled romance that lacks a connection between its distant two leads, Kelly Macdonald and Garrett Hedlund.
Gregor Jordan‘s Dirt Music provides viewers with a somewhat slow and restrained romance that is set against the stunning backdrop of Australia. Dirt Music‘s visuals alone make up for the lacking romance between the two leads who are clearly struggling to make a believable relationship. Garrett Hedlund and Kelly Macdonald show no real bond and instead spend most of the film forcefully bouncing off of each other until the film comes to a expected and somewhat relieving end.
Georgie (Kelly Macdonald) is in boring relationship with a man who enjoys her presence more than he actually seems to enjoy her as an actual person in his life for whom he cares for. He has two children that adore her and treat her like mom, yet she can’t help but to think that her life is simply staying in place, when it should be moving forward. They’re together because it works and because they are at the very least two compatible people that have common interests and needs.
This makes things awkward when Lu Fox (Garrett Hedlund) suddenly enters the picture, appearing to be a loner that enjoys fishing at night and playing a bit of guitar when the mood strikes. But ol’ Lu has a backstory that of course intertwines with Georgie and her current “lover”, which makes for uninteresting drama.
The more Georgie and Lu are drawn together, the more Georgie seems to want nothing to do with the man that she lives with.
Dirt Music would have been a far more interesting film if it included some sort of struggle or conflict. It really doesn’t lean too hard on the plot, because Georgie’s complete lack of interest in anything other than Lu makes most of the drama deflate and fall to the ground, because there is never really any other direction but to follow him and to want to be with him.
Normally, these types of films boil over as the female lead struggles with making her decision or with the male lead fearing what will happen if he steps in or worse yet, what will happen if she chooses him and then ends up disappointed, resenting the decisions that she’s made.
But Dirt Music isn’t that kind of movie. Director Gregor Jordan and writer Jack Thorne (based on a novel written by Tim Winton) keep Dirt Music shifting around with not a care in the world. It spends five minutes here and five minutes there, but ultimately leads up to an ending so dull that you will start to wonder why you’ve bothered on such an exploration in the first place.
The only real saving grace of this film is its location and Gregor Jordan‘s ability to capture the beautiful land down under with such an artful eye.
Every single shot in this movie takes in the light and shines it down on a well-picked set piece or a character that’s at just the right angle to make for a shot that could be sold on a postcard.
Australia is a beautiful continent and Dirt Music captures that beauty consistently, making the film at the very least a sight worth taking in.
But the story goes absolutely nowhere and the romance feels so forced and unbelievable. Nothing about Garrett Hedlund or Kelly Macdonald‘s performances feels honest or real and instead comes off as two people forced together to make a better situation out of something that was much worse. But even that doesn’t seem to be enough, which bleeds into the script and has Hedlund’s Lu distancing himself from Georgie and most of the rest of the world out of fear what could happen and out of guilt from the past.
Hedlund does fine presenting this guilt and his troubled past. But he struggles with making us believe that there’s a romantic interest in Macdonald’s Georgie. Meanwhile, Macdonald fails to make us think that Georgie really does love Lu. I kept thinking she loved the idea of Lu more than the actual person and I couldn’t quite decide if that was intended or just my own interpretation.
Dirt Music plays around in the sand for nearly two full hours and that length is felt to the fullest. The movie moves at a snail’s pace and will have you begging to be dropped off on a deserted island if it means not having to finish the rest of the film. What makes matters worse is the fact that it is shot by true professionals and feels like a proper production that just had nothing to work with.
If the film looked like crap or felt like a rushed mess then I wouldn’t have as hard of a time writing it off, but man does this have everything else lined up in a way that would surely equal success.
Dirt Music is nothing more than a pretty picture, sucking you in with its color and visual energy, but quickly losing you as your eyes drift away onto the next best thing. Skip this one if you’re looking for something better than your standard Hallmark/Lifetime movie, which I have nothing against, but I have come to expect just a little more when shelling out $7 to rent.