Reportedly a popular musical in Australia, though it's difficult to imagine why, Bran Nue Dae is a film adaptation that barely qualifies as either a film or a musical.Â
Written for the screen and directed by indigenous Aussie Rachel Perkins, the film concerns Willie (Rocky McKenzie), a young aborigine plagued with intense Christian guilt, who runs away from home for no apparent reason. In no time at all ' almost everything happens in super-speed during this 88-minute sketch ' Willie lands in the condemning arms of a priest (a hammy Geoffrey Rush), saddles up to a friendly, if conniving, hobo and hitches a ride with a couple of German hippies. Along the way, he participates in utterly insipid songs with upbeat Christian messages ('All the Way Jesus,â?� 'Child of Gloryâ?�) and halfhearted choreography in numbers put together with the visual flair of a beige couch.Â
There are generational secrets unveiled, lessons learned and love unearned. Willie's supposedly in love with a cute aborigine girl from his village, Rosie, whom he runs from as fast as he can ' literally 'Â every time he sees her (probably because whenever he thinks about her, he envisions her as a flame-engulfed devil, which is just so romantic). She's fallen into the attentive, somewhat cocky arms of Lester, a local musician who gives Rosie a chance to sing and displays actual sexual interest in her, and therefore must be ruined completely.Â
It's tough to root for a main character who's so brainwashed and mentally weak that he looks down upon his great love just for being cute, and although he 'stands upâ?� to Lester eventually (to the delight of the entire village), his redemption is wholly false, as is the entire spirit of this cheap, clumsy musical.Â
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