Picnic at Hanging Rock


Action / Drama / Mystery / Romance


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Downloaded 29,653 times
May 10, 2015 at 06:06 AM



Jacki Weaver as Minnie
John Jarratt as Albert Crundall
Rachel Roberts as Mrs. Appleyard
809.32 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 55 min
P/S 4 / 37

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Tim Hughes 10 / 10


This film is magnificent! From the storyline, the settings, the atmosphere, the cinematography, the Victorian repression, the music throughout, the sense of the ordinary, the epic and the bizarre all clashing together to make something altogether superb from such disparate parts.

Whether it is supernatural, otherworldly, plain disappearances, a murder scene, or who-knows, no one ever really finds out. And what might seem important, might not be, and what might seem trivial might not be either! It is the imagination made reality on film, and the most dreamy and atmospheric film I have seen.

The fact that it is in Australia as well, at the turn of the century counts for a lot. The story in the movie could be read in countless ways; as symbolic of the horrors and hypocrisy of Victorian society; as a criticism of European ideals imposed on an alien landscape; as the end of one society, that of Victorian, to the beginnings of the modern world we all now live in. It is this that is the crux for me; the appearance of something new from something so old; the old landscape, the passing values of Victorian society, the passing values of class deference in English-speaking societies, and obviously Australia.

There is another thing that gets me about this movie; the down to earthness of Australians up against the bizarre and epic nature of an ancient landscape that refuses to be tamed.

There is for me a sadness in this film, and repression of every kind, but, somewhere, in tiny glints throughout the movie, the future is glimpsed when ordinary people can be free of such repression, and somewhere the story of Oz itself is in this movie. I don't know how or why, but it is! I think! Whatever, I love this movie and can't get it out of my head.

Reviewed by pocca 8 / 10

Death and the Maidens

Even though this has been described as a film about sexual repression (and Peter Weir may have thought he was making such a film), I don't think it is--rather, it is a celebration of the dreamy, self contained sexuality (or rather pre-sexuality) of young adolescent girls just before they seriously turn their attention to men. Sure, they may be living in a society straitjacketed by Victorian mores, but the girls really don't seem to be the unhappier for this, non withstanding the earthy maid's comments that she feels sorry for them. Miranda and her friends seem completely content and at ease in their languid, hothousey world of poetry, pink and white bedrooms, and mutual crushes (I was reminded of the similarly dreamy, self contained little universe of the sisters in "The Virgin Suicides--another film that is supposedly about repression). During the noon day nap at Hanging Rock, the girls, heads resting in one another's laps, are in a state very much resembling post coital bliss--far from seeming repressed, they are among the most content women I've ever seen on screen. It is quite arguable that Victorian morality had something to do with their sexuality turning inward like this, but all this does is lend credence to the truism that repression intensifies sexuality--which may explain the lingering fascination the Victorian era has for the modern age, and why one of its most striking symbols of its oppressiveness--the corset--is also very erotically charged. The girls' disappearance into the eerie black land form (that seems to have faces at times, bringing to mind fairy tales about trolls who steal golden haired children) suggests that at in their present state they are so contented that anything else life might hold for them could only be a letdown, that only whatever dark force (death? nothingness?) is haunting Hanging Rock could possibly be a worthy enough lover for these girls who are already so supremely self fulfilled.

There are, unfortunately, aspects of this film that don't work, or rather jar with the elements discussed above, the most prominent of these being the Dickensian subplot of the persecuted orphaned pupil Sarah. The actress herself is affecting in her part and her boyish beauty contrasts well with Miranda's ethereal femininity (she looks like a young Renaissance prince at times), but her story really belongs in another movie because at heart "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is more Gothic than socially conscious.

Maybe Weir really was aiming to make a movie about the evils of sexual repression, class inequality or even colonization, but such possible themes are blown away by the languid, ethereal images of the young adolescent girls at the beginning of the film, floating contentedly through their hours like clusters of Monet lilies.

Reviewed by eshaun 10 / 10

Excellent director, immaculate film.

Peter Weir is a master of taking the mysteries of human nature, combining them with the essence of humanity, then distilling those aspects through the inexplicable itself. This has been an earmark of his films "Dead Poets Society," "Fearless" and even "The Truman Show" but nowhere is this more apparent than with "Picnic At Hanging Rock."

Beautifully filmed in rural Australia, the plot of "Picnic At Hanging Rock" is deceptively simple: students at an upper crust Victorian-era girls' school go on a field trip to Hanging Rock --an unusual geographic site miles away from civilization. On the trip, three of the girls and one of the teachers go missing. A simple plot, right? Well, on the surface it is indeed simple, but the way Peter Weir deals with the subject matter will keep the viewer absolutely enthralled and at a loss as to the cause of the girls' inexplicable disappearance. What has frustrated many viewers is that the responsibility of the hypothesis lies solely on them: there are no conclusive answers, but rather a number of theories as seen through the eyes of second and third parties.

Additionally, Weir spices up the overall feeling of uncertainty with repeated images seemingly unrelated to the flow of the movie. Swans, ants, flowers, flies and poetry all appear repeatedly throughout the film, indicating that there is some deeper significance to the nature of the disappearance. Something that is just out of the viewer's grasp. In truth, Weir's direction in this film is akin to a more accessible and humanistic David Lynch. Much of the same thematic ground is covered, and the pronounced sense of uncertainty is a trademark of many Lynch films, especially his recent masterwork, "Mulholland Drive."

Finally, what makes "Picnic At Hanging Rock" a true marvel of filmmaking is the complete integration of all elements in the support of the ephemeral theme. The pan-flute of Zamfir adds an otherworldly element to the score; the cinematography makes Hanging Rock look alternately commonplace, and enigmatic, depending on the scene. This collusion of all elements makes "Picnic At Hanging Rock" essential viewing for anyone interested in immaculate emotive filmmaking. -E. Shaun Russell

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