By Tom Meek | January 12, 1998

There’s a lot of talent in this offbeat drama about two odd balls from Down Under, but somehow all the pieces don’t quite fit together. Ralph (is it “Ray” or “Ralph”?) Fiennes plays an introverted nebbish who aspires to be a man of the cloth, though he gambles with the abandonment of a damned sinner. He finds his soul mate in Cate Blanchett, a glassworks heiress. Together they find bliss at the poker table, and later on Blanchett builds a glass church for Fiennes to establish his own mission in the wilds of the Australian outback. The concept, based on Peter Carey’s novel, is intriguing, the visuals by Gillian Armstrong (“Little Women”) are rich and the performances noteworthy, but who really cares about two gamblers who try to redeem themselves with a mini “Fitzcarraldo” type quest? If anything else the film is worth seeing to see the near spectacle of Fiennes appearing clown-like in his flaming red locks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon