Film Review – Acute Misfortune (2018)

Title – Acute Misfortune (2018)

Director – Thomas M. Wright (feature debut)

Cast – Daniel Henshall, Toby Wallace, Gillian Jones, Max Cullan

Plot – Based on the true story of hotheaded and erratic Australian artist Adam Cullen (Henshall) and his complicated friendship with his young biographer Erik Jensen (Wallace).

“Everything moves towards its end mate” 

Review by Eddie on 05/10/2020

A recognizable face in the Australian film industry after key supporting roles in the likes of Top of the Lake, Sweet Country and Balibo, actor turned director Thomas M. Wright has picked a difficult subject matter for his debut film but proving to be a master at handling his tricky true life character and creating an unnerving local drama to boot, Acute Misfortune announces a very special new film making talent of the local variety.

One of the best reviewed Australian films of recent times, Acute Misfortune finally becomes available to Australian audiences through streaming service Stan after successful festival runs around the world in 2018 and 2019 and its a pleasure to finally see Wright’s look at troubled artist Adam Cullen’s life, as the Blue Mountain’s based figure invites journalist Erik Jensen into his inner sanctum to work on a biography of his life.

A nerve-shredding film, one that creeps under your skin as Daniel Henshall’s Cullen begins to impact the life of Toby Wallace’s fresh faced Jensen, this is not a straight up biopic by any stretch of the imagination and Cullen remains an illusive figure to pin down throughout but the film is a fascinating insight into the mind of a troubled artist and a man that seemed hell bent on destruction and pushing away people in his life that managed to get close to him.

Still best known for his key role as John Bunting in the highly memorable Australian serial killer drama Snowtown, Henshall is on fire here as Cullen and is expertly backed up by Wallace who recently broke out in a big way thanks to his performance in hit Australian film Babyteeth, the duo working together fantastically on their way to creating one of the most powerful double acts seen in a recent Australian production.

There’s something almost sinister in the way in which Cullen embraces Jensen into his crazy way of life, Wright and his D.O.P’s Stefan Duscio and Germain McMicking framing and capturing the film in an almost horror-like way while Evelyn Ida Morris’s eerie score encapsulates the unhinged nature of much of Cullen’s life and the occurrences throughout it and when combined with Henshall’s and Wallace’s performances, Acute Misfortune works together as a whole to create something unique and unexpected in a genre that is normally far more predictable.

Final Say – 

A hugely impressive Australian film that wonderfully embodies itself around the tale of one our most unwieldy talents, Acute Misfortune is an acting showcase from its two award worthy leads, an announcement of a major new directing talent and a must-watch for fans of searing uncompromising dramas.

4 illegal firearms out of 5 

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