The Red Right Hand
  www.theredrighthand.co.uk





SOMERSAULT
Her World Was Turned Upside Down But She Found Herself In The Same Place

Director
Cate Shortland
Starring
Abbie Cornish
Sam Worthington
Lynette Curran
Hollie Andrew

After a fairly interesting and somewhat original credit sequence the film kicks off by introducing us to a young blonde Australian girl, Heidi [Cornish]. We're then shown a scene showing Heidi's mother, Nicole [Olivia Pigeot], leaving for work, followed by Heidi making coffee for her mum's boyfriend, who we are informed isn't going to work 'because it's raining.' The audience isn't allowed the privilege of finding out what he does for living but we can assume it's something out-doorsie (He's probably a builder or something). With the slightest flirting approach on Heidi's part, the two end up kissing as Adam [Damian De Montemas] has his hand up her shirt. For whatever reason Nicole returns home and walks in on them. The next part was extremely well acted out but later on I felt that Heidi over-reacted, in light of later events and the conclusion I came to about her. Heidi then makes her way onto a bus and off to some place in Australia (Jindabyne, I think), a snowy mountain area that reminded me of Wales. On arrival she pulls a card from her wallet and calls a gentleman (Eddie) who said that if she was in town to call him, as is the way he didn't remember her then asked her not to call again.

Homeless and without means to pay for her way, Heidi begins to pick up guys in night clubs, in an attempt to find somewhere to stay. After being shot down by the first one-night-stand she begins to flirt with the owner of a Ski shop and even some guy in a car just staring at her. I must admit that part was particularly creepy, just a random bloke sitting in his car staring at Heidi as she ate. What made it worse was that she saw some sort of opportunity and began to approach the car, as a member of the audience you don't really want her to get into the car because the man inside looks how all mothers imagine kidnappers to appear. Then the peak of the scene, his wife gets in the car and he ignores Heidi (who he couldn't take his eyes off save for blinking not moments ago) completely. Heidi finds herself inside a cafe which doubled as a club the night before, this is where she meets Joe [Worthington].

After a bit of bonding and some more sex Heidi spends the next day negotiating with Irene [Curran] the owner of the motel and trying to get a job at petrol station. To be honest this whole process takes a long time with very little actually happening, it was like watching paint dry. Beautiful, intriguing and delightful paint, but it's still boring watching it simply be. The only notable part that comes to mind is Heidi walking up and down the shoreline playing a hand game (akin to 'patty-cake') wearing her newly acquired gloves. This plays on her child-like manner, which seems to repeat itself as a constant theme throughout the film. After getting the job at the petrol station Heidi befriends Bianca [Andrew] who introduces Heidi to her family, including her younger brother Karl [Blake Pittman], who suffers from Aspergers. Bianca gives a simple but accurate description of what this means for Karl, it's at this moment that you start to think that maybe Heidi suffers from this if not something similar, but maybe not as advanced or acute-a-case as Karl; shown in this film as she can't identify with people and seems to become attached to the smallest of things around her (notably the odd additions to her scrapbook) - this may not play out too well, considering how she reacted earlier, still it may be a deeply harboured case with only subtle symptoms.

The following hour just revolves around Heidi & Joe's relationship (if that's what you can call it). Which climaxes when Joe gets ridiculously drunk, fights with his friend, visits his mother's (gay) friend and arrives home to a Father who doesn't seem to care. It would appear that Joe has some serious committal issues and is attempting to come to terms with the fact that he may be in love. Heidi, thinking that Joe doesn't want her goes out to a club and finds two strangers. They get back to her place and start kissing and toking on weed, this was particularly distressing for me because the last thing I wanted to see (especially with my patience wearing thin) at that point was a threesome with two guys. Just as one of the stoners gets Heidi naked there's a knock at the door, turns out to be Joe (If anyone didn't see that coming they have a pretty dull mind). He beats the stoners out and then storms out on Heidi after telling her she's 'fucked up' and 'needs help' - which is hypocritical coming from him.

With help from Irene (Heidi's Mother-figure in her real Mother's absence), Heidi turns to the only person she has left, her mother. The film comes to a close as Heidi is being driven home, all of a sudden the title comes to your mind (mostly because you start to ask yourself what you just saw and was it worth it?), Somersault. For some reason I kept thinking that meant Seesaw, don't ask why, I couldn't give you an answer. But the act of a somersault is to turn everything upside down and fall back where you started; this added another layer of poignancy which was better than the ending I was thinking of for the last half an hour, which just saw Heidi committing suicide. The feeling I was left with at the end of the film was a bit obscure. My initial thoughts were that the world is full of moments and incidents that we could all do best to avoid, that men are mostly abusive scum, Australia DOES get snow, but the notion that rang through the clearest was that Heidi had the IQ of a brick and Joe was no better. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that there was no one (except maybe Irene) who you could empathise with. You weren't allowed to relate to the lead characters because they were as deranged as each other, not that the company they kept was any better. Mostly I just wanted to go home and pray that I never have a daughter for fear of her life turning out that way, sound harsh? Maybe.

Release Date:
4 March 2005

The Scene To Look Out For:
There's a scene when Heidi's waiting for Joe to call her back. She stands in front of the mirror and role-plays an encounter between Joe and herself. It was just pleasant to watch, a moment which showed Heidi possibly in love rather than just having indiscriminate sex with whomever she could find.

Notable Characters:
I found this one difficult, but as I said to a friend, I liked the stoner dude at the end because he made me laugh.

Highlighted Quote:
"You call walking around naked and pissed out of your head at three in the morning an accident!?"

In A Few Words:
"Beautiful to look at but don't look too close, there's not much there"

Total Score:
4/10


Matthew Stogdon