SFF 2018: Review – Beautiful Things

Beautiful Things opens with some striking rural vistas and a very annoying toy robot. The broad vistas become a key motif during this film of five segments: Petroleum, Cargo, Measure, Couple and Ashes.

There are lots of postcard shots of beautiful things in Beautiful Things. However there’s much more to this than just pointing a camera at some action. In the segment, Petroleum, the subtle percussive music evokes the sounds of the oil drills and surroundings. There’s also carefully considered sound design to go along with that music. This encourages the viewer to place emphasis in the detail.

It wonderfully captures the expanse of the locations. Although it’s described like a wound. We are shown the area of a oil worker who is not afraid to criticise oil and what it does. Paradoxically he likes the isolation of this rural life.

This film is a treatise on living and working in isolated work places. This film shows the beauty of this planet and the beauty of solitude. It also spends a lot of time on the one shot – giving us plenty of time to contemplate its sounds and rhythms.

All of the people featured in the film have some sort of isolation to deal with. This film is all about finding beauty in the everyday. The visuals are poetic and with its lyrical sound design, it’s no surprise that the film evolves into music video. Yet what the viewer will remember the most about this film is its exquisite views of vistas.

Michael Collins


Beautiful Things screens at Sydney Film Festival on Friday June 8 and Saturday June 9.

Friday 8th of June, 2018

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