Revenge is an occasion to dress up for, and that’s just what the brilliant Kate Winslet does as dressmaker Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s superb new film The Dressmaker. Here’s a quick synopsis:
In the 1950s, Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage returns to her Australian hometown of Dungatar to take care of her ill mother…the same hometown that drove her away years earlier after accusations of murder. Now an expert dressmaker, Tilly decides to use her couture creations to exact revenge on those who wronged her.
If you’re not sold already, here are five reasons to watch this killer cinematic entry:
5. Striking cinematography
From its very first frame The Dressmaker is a visually stunning movie, having been captured by the extraordinary cinematographer Donald McAlphine. Enriched with both colour and texture, McAlphine infuses every image he captures on screen with personality, from the sepia tones of Tilly’s repressed memories to the crisp shades of the stunning clothing masterpieces that she creates.
4. An inspired cast of Aussie greats
Director Jocelyn Moorhouse has the best of the best at her fingertips with an eclectic cast of world-renowned Aussie performers. Hugo Weaving is beautifully proud as cross-dressing policeman Sergeant Farrat, Liam Hemsworth strikes a chord with audiences as nice guy Teddy McSwiney, Sarah Snooke goes from ugly duckling to delicate swan as shop assistant Gertrude “Trudy” Pratt, and Alison Whyte provides a slightly manic and intense performance as the distraught Marigold Pettyman. But if there’s one supporting player that truly makes The Dressmaker, then it’s Judy Davis as ‘Mad’ Molly Dunnage — the depraved but caring mother of Tilly who will have audiences howling in fits of laughter whenever she appears.
3. Haute couture revenge
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but Tilly Dunnage also makes it a fashionable affair thanks to her marvelous skills as a couturier. The work of costume designer Marion Boyce is simply stunning, and while these fashionable works of art are beautiful to look at, they also convey much in the way of character development, as well provide moments of share comedic gold as Dungatar finds itself caught in the midst of a complete style overhaul.
2. Jocelyn Moorhouse — a directorial couturier
Director Jocelyn Moorhouse has created a truly groundbreaking piece of cinema. The Dressmaker is clearly a director’s movie, and Moorhouse’s vision is strong and defined. With every frame you feel her passion for the film and its subject matter, and this passion for the source material serves to truly bring the audience into Tilly Dunnage’s world.
1. An original and spellbinding performance from Kate Winslet
Centering The Dressmaker is a breathtaking performance from Kate Winslet as the vengeful Tilly Dunnage. Balancing a range of emotions that go from angry and vengeful to compassionate and loving, Tilly is a character who undergoes intense personality shifts, and such a complex performance demands an actress of Winslet’s range. Her commitment to the role is unwavering, and will be remembered by audiences as an original and powerful performance.
The Dressmaker will be released in New Zealand and Australia on October 29, before hitting the UK on November 20.
Image source: Paramount Films.