Review: Breath

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

At the Sydney premiere to Breath, director Simon Baker admitted he felt pressure from all sides while making the screen adaptation of Tim Winton’s book. To many people Winton is a national living treasure and a large percentage of them warned Baker “not to stuff up” Winton’s work.

And then there were the surfers. The surfing scenes in the book are not just beautifully rendered, they’re also authentic - they could only have been penned by a surfer. Yet surfing on celluloid is an altogether different beast. Too many times has great material devolved into diabolical execution with the end result just another warped impression of surfing. Up there on screen are people you’d never meet down the carpark, saying shit you’d never hear spoken, and yeah, they’re all riding fifty foot surf….of course.

These shortcomings needn’t be pointed out to Baker. He’s a surfer himself, grew up at Lennox, still gets out there, so he’s acutely aware of how badly surfing has been represented on screen. He’s seen all the celluloid misfires and was adamant they wouldn’t be repeated on his watch. You’ll be glad to hear that they aren’t. In Breath, the writer surfs, so does the director, all the ‘actors’ are surfers first, and the whole water unit surfs. There’s no bogus Bodhi-style mysticism, no heroic big wave scene, and the quirks of surfing culture are left unexplained.

Simon Baker as Sando, Ben Spence as Loonie, and Samson Coulter as Pikelet

Baker may have been faithful to surfing, but he has his way with Winton’s storyline. “Once the story is written it’s not mine anymore,” said Winton at the premiere, and in the film version of Breath, Baker puts less emphasis on some parts of the book while abolishing others.

Aside from the occasional narration, supplied by Winton himself, we never meet Bruce Pike as an adult. Our first introduction to Pikelet is as a teenager diving in the river with his mate Ivan - otherwise known as Loonie. Pikelet and Loonie are inseparable but they come from vastly different home lives: Pikelet’s parents are gentle and affectionate, while Loonie lives with his violent father.

They discover surfing and both are immediately smitten, each assuming the roles modelled to them. Pikelet, curious but cautious, while Loonie hurls himself at danger, putting up a front of mouthy bravado, but his unfulfilled needs are revealed in the way he responds to the nurturing stability of Pikelet's family.

As they progress, they’re pulled into the gravitational field of the local surfers, particularly Sando, who takes them under his wing, while at the same time each drifts away from their parent's orbit, viewing the world anew. And that’s one of the themes that Breath spins on; feeling the passions and impulses of an adult while not being armed with the perspicacity to deal with them.

Sando does his bit to teach Pikelet and Loonie how “to be extraordinary men”, taking them to isolated waves, building their confidence, and outlining a mission to ‘Nautilus’, an as yet unridden bommie. Having turned his back on a pro career due to an apparent clash of values, Sando treats fear as a means to personal growth. Not an unworthy premise, though best not tested on impressionable teens.

And with this, the dual theme of risk-taking begins taking shape. First in Sando’s tinny as they scope Nautilus and then when Sando leaves for Indonesia and Pikelet accepts the advances of Sando’s wife, Eva. The asphyxiation sex thing bucked a lot of readers out of the saddle but Baker tones down the perversity replacing it with light metaphor. There’s still a collar and placcy bag under the bed but it’s representative of adult sex, which, like uncharted ocean waves, is another thing Pikelet is tempted by but unprepared for.

Ultimately Pikelet says no to Sando, the student surpasses the guru. So while Loonie hurls himself towards oblivion, Pikelet shows moral courage, taking a tentative first step towards knowing thyself - another way of being extraordinary.

The plotline of Breath intersects with other events, real and fictional. The film comes on the back of a new book and speaking tour by Winton addressing toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity was largely unheard of in 2008 when Breath first came out, though it’s specifically addressed in Winton's latest book The Shepherd's Hut.

Breath is a gentler take on similar themes of wayward masculinity. And if viewed in this context then there’s an open-ended discussion to be had about Sando’s role in Pikelet’s decision and Loonie’s demise.

Or you can simply enjoy Breath as a beautiful coming of age drama with incredible scenery and wholly believable surfing scenes, because it’s all those things too.

Breath opens in cinemas May 3rd

Comments

icandig's picture
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icandig commented Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 9:23pm

#Spoiler. Geez Stu how's about a warning? I'd already read too far before I realized there are quite a few reveals in here. I've read the book and I'll return to your review after I've seen the movie. Now to scrub my eyes with a toothbrush to rub away what I've just seen.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 9:34pm

Eh? Nothing revealed here that isn't in the book, which you said you'd read.

icandig's picture
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icandig commented Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 9:44pm

It was the comparison of the book to the movie. I kind of like to make those comparisons myself...and then compare my comparisons with others comparisons...no biggy.. I think I stopped reading just in time.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 9:45pm

OK, come back to me when you're ready to compare.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:50pm

That must be painful.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 6:13am

Good read Stu.
I couldn't see anything there that wouldn't enhance a viewing, not spoil it.

Wonder if Baker will show at the Lennox community centre and bring it to the people.

Chris Buykx's picture
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Chris Buykx commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:13am

Good One!
"perspicacity" - use it in a sentence today!

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 17 May 2018 at 12:05am

I have the perspicacity to realise that in a surfing community, even in todays modern community, there will be difference of opinion. But like John Lennon said there is different layers to an onion. It perspicacity has to realised, to do that you have to peel it, there will be tears.

John Lennon may have not said the second part.

james-jay's picture
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james-jay commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:29am

My wife and I saw an advanced screening on Monday night, we thoroughly enjoyed it, I feel sorry for the parents next to us who brought their 10 year old son along, definitely not suitable for under 15's. Your review is quite good although I think you might be influenced by the book as it needed more time to develop the characters and there is no mention of his past battle with the surfing world apart from the magazine covers and the bag was not just under the bed. I highly recommend this movie and you are spot on with the water shots they certainly surpass previous attempts and are of a high quality which must be quite difficult when time is money and Mother Nature can't be bought.

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Smitdoggie commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 2:00pm

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Breath and can't wait to see the big screen adaption. I was fortunate to be in the Great Southern last week surfing (and scored big time) where much of the filming took place. It is such an incredibly beautiful region. I'm sure a superb backdrop to the movie and surfing footage.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 10:35pm

I remember staying in the Caravan park in Walpole. It has Coal in its title. We caught Brim and Phin made the most lovelist stew. There were Kookaburras.

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 6:55pm

Uhhhhmm.... I'm going to be very unpopular here and say it.

I didn't like the book.

I appreciate Tim's attempt but found the metaphors clumsy and obvious. I thought the story was over-sensational and lacked any subtlety at all.

I'm not being negative for negatives sake but I want to represent the other opinion. I appreciate Tim's place in Australian literature but I don't like this part of it.

In the same way "East of Eden" is John Steinbeck's most popular novel and my least favourite. Am I the weirdo? Or have I read too much?

Thanks in advance for not hating on me for writing this,

Cheers

Billie

crg's picture
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crg commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:04pm

I'm with you Billie...not a huge Winton fan in general but also thought this was one of his weakest and unrefined novels.
One of the rare times I'm thinking the movie will be better than the book.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:00pm

Let me rip the head of this individual, please.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 17 May 2018 at 12:00am

And he gets milk from animals that hang of the edge of the cliff. Are you not stupid enough to see the similratiey?

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:55pm

You should read The Riders, he is an paddock, in a hut, surrounded by animals. He has children, off somewhere. I can't even remember his trade, he may have been a writer. I struggled through it. Now, I can understand, thank you very much. I am off to the cold lands as soon as I win Cash Cow. I really can't remember the ending.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 5:48pm

Cannery Row is Steinbeck's finest, to my way of thinking.

I haven't read much of Tim's work, but the passages I have just hit home, literally, I could feel the spots and places. It's the rite of passage of any WA grom.

Literature from WA is inseparably part of the landscape. It's just so harsh and huge and desolate and beautiful. I find I prefer Stow's work, his tortured characters and glorious landscapes with a veneer of spirituality running underneath.

There. I've waxed lyrical. Time to see the film. Why were there no kinky temptresses when I was the grom down that way? Must've gone to the wrong houses...

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 9:05pm

Maybe Tim like his story. I could fucken write it, I am building myself up to it.

I am caught in between these two guys, maybe, a good place to be.

I focus's picture
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I focus commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 6:58pm

Haha Billie ...........posting it 3 times mightn't help

brainiac's picture
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brainiac commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:12pm

Two billies too many I reckon

brainiac's picture
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brainiac commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:13pm

I do agree one of his lesser novels in my eyes!

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:16pm

He was stuttering. Nervous.

It's OK Billie, we don't hate you. In fact, I strongly disliked the last third of the book.

Was chatting to a friend last night about films that are better than the books they're adapted from, and I suggested No Country For Old Men. I'm a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy but that book was flawed, while the Coen Bros film gave us something different.

Not sure Breath falls into the same category as No Country For Old Men, but at this point I think I enjoyed Breath the film more than Breath the book.

These matters take a while to filter down, I haven't totally debriefed the material, so I'm not tied to that point of view but merely leaning that way.

billie's picture
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billie commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:22pm

Thanks for the fair-minded vibes gentlemen. I tried deleting the extra posts but wasn't able to! Imagine if I tried to write a novel!? I can't even write on a forum.....

My wife is excited about the film and hated the book. She's a big reader and old school movie buff. Says it looks beautifully shot and she loves Simon Baker. I'm not much of a movie watcher, kinda stopped after Madwax and Young Einstein.

Billie

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 11:55pm

Us Fair Minded Vibes Gentlman

Heres a Poem.

crg's picture
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crg commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 8:49pm

Agreed No Country For Old Men was a great film, beautifully shot and lit, great pacing, but in reality, the star of the film was Javier Bardem's bowl cut.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:27pm

Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! is better than the book.

Have a look at the trailer if you need convincing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4Dt2SQ7DV4

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:38pm

No convincing needed. Tura Satana wins every literary debate going.

simba's picture
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simba commented Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:29pm

Im with Stu,loved the first half of the book and was over it by the end....but will still go see the movie.

simba

Elliedog's picture
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Elliedog commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 11:03am

the star of the film was Javier Bardem's bowl cut. ........... well said CRG. The caracter still gives me nightmares....as does the bowl!!!!!..Looking forward to seeing Winton's narative on film but have my reervations. My 12 year old boy really wants to see it. Should i be holding off????

Luba

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 11:06am

First half is fine for a 12-year-old. Maybe give him $20 for choc tops when Sando leaves for Indonesia.

james-jay's picture
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james-jay commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 7:15am

Yes, not suitable.

southey's picture
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southey commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 11:15am

Tim is a personal favourite of mine , having said that its probably more a love affair with our country and his ways of describing its beauty .
I look forward to the movie , just wonder if i can convince the missus to watch it .
By the sounds of it she'll hate the first half and tune in later .
I often wonder what happened Anton Chigur in these walls , who could be just as entriguing as Javier .
The other thing i was going to say on a literal sense , is that i would have named a book about pushing boundaries as " Breathe " . Especially in the oceanic endeavour , but also the bed room . lol . Breath conjures images of short sharp reflexes that'll help no one , as opposed to slower controlled breathing which lowers the pulse rate and draws things out . Then again , literally nothing i've ever written has made sense . Especially in this medium .

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 11:26am

“Then again , literally nothing i've ever written has made sense . Especially in this medium .”

A-fucken-men to that brother! :-0

Elliedog's picture
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Elliedog commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 11:40am

First half is fine for a 12-year-old Maybe give him $20 for choc tops when Sando leaves for Indonesia."....................Thanks Stu. Shame though as i'd like him to get a real sense of what surfing should be and can be rather than the bullshit served up in previous films.

Luba

southey's picture
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southey commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 2:33pm

Goofyfoot , Except when it suits . ;-)

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 2:48pm

Haha obviously!

andrew-pitt's picture
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andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 10:22pm

The Boy Behind the Curtain is the Tim Winton autobiography and actually places all his books in context. He mentioned driving half way across Australia, stopping, turning around, and going home to shred a manuscript to start again. Such is his dedication to his craft.
A literary friend noted that Tim rarely does interviews, except for surfing mags/websites, surfers are his tribe. For sure Tim will be reading all these comments.
Breath has to be Tim Wintons best. Well done. Do more.
Can't wait to see the movie. Would love to see a movie on the making of the movie too.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 12:08am

Reading all this comments, for fucksakes, your hoping, I am hoping. I continual prompt him, like his a fire, going out and I prompt him again. Get fucked, he aint reading this shit!

crip's picture
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crip commented Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 10:49pm

I was going to comment on the last Tim Winton thread, but for some reason or another I didn't. But I will now.
I agree that Tim is one of Australia's best fiction writers. He can paint an incredibly vivid picture of WA's coast and small country towns, and their often eccentric characters.
We started with the adolescent growing pains of young Lockie Leonard in Augustus(?). We still quote done lines from it, like "tricky bits". And I still love those books, even though they were for our kids.
He has a great talent for describing characters, warts and all.
But that's part of his problem, or my problem with his books. Tim's writing is nearly always dark, bleak and depressing. I can't read it if I'm in any way sad, down or unhappy. It is not uplifting. It rarely makes me think, "shit it's good to be alive". More like "oh shit, what's the point of living". Maybe that's more a reflection of my state of mind, but everyone looks at things through their own eyes and has their own take on things.
But that aside, I found Breath a good read overall. I thought the kinky sex bit odd and don't understand why it was necessary, and the plot did seem to lose momentum.
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. Maybe when I'm in a positive frame of mind. ;)

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 5:58pm

There's a juxtaposition in the Aussie lit I studied where the place is described as either a paradise, or a form of isolation/hell. It's there in history from the bounty of Banks' amazing work to the tale of Jeronimus Cornelisz. Some of it is really dark. Look up what the first European building built in Australia was constructed for.

And this notion has extended into the backdrop of more recent times, from all the amazing waves and beauty of the environments we grew up in to the sick fck in Claremont to the dunes of Geraldton...
There's substance in the darkness he writes about.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 17 May 2018 at 12:13am

Aussie Lit, like a butterfly.

No doubt, there is substance, it has darkness, joy, love, confusion, you fuckwit, you studied. You fuckwit, really? I have had enough of you half arsed fuckwits pretending to know. I have read a book in nearly seven years and I puke at your half arsed commentaries./

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Nick Brennan commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 7:38am

The Ultimate Aphrodisiac by Robert G Barrett- now there is a surf novel by an Australian writer I would like to see turned into a movie.... Lol

cgrover's picture
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cgrover commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 8:50am

I love Winton and have read everything he's written. Breath is up there with his best work and yes it is bleak but not in the gothic way style of The Shepherd's Hut , his latest. The reviews of both the film Breath specifically, and his books more generally, compare his work with everyone from Steinbeck to Cormac McCarthy and Patrick White like the writers are in some kind of competition. Winton has a unique voice, an amazing sense of place and its power in shaping individuals and creates characters damaged and striving to come to grips with the place , metaphorical and and literal, they find themselves in. The film is fantastic, beautifully shot, the acting strong and the dialogue well constructed and convincing. It is not the book and nor could or should it be. Interestingly the end of the book puts events like Sando's influence on the boys, the relationship with Eva and way men especially are products of the conflict between the want for acceptance through conforming to a stereotype the men in our life offer when we're growing up and the need to find who we are through careful introspection and honest self analysis.

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mikehunt207 commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 9:24am

I agree totally crip, Tim creates great reads but can be some very dark depressing stuff at times. I read the Riders (poor cunt plans moving family to Ireland in winter, goes ahead with the kid and the wife bails and never shows up, a dog gets its brains smashed out with a wine bottle etc etc terrible fucking book) during a winter spell on a freezing grey Chilean point break, mega dark, couldn't wait for it to end and I left that book there. But some of his others have been epic Dirt Music, Breath, Cloudstreet, especially if you have grown up on the West Coast, he takes you to places long forgotten.

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blindboy commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 4:29pm

Winton is one of the most important living Australian authors and although I have always struggled with his work, it has also left me with the impression that he had a seriously great novel in there somewhere. I know a lot of people would say that he has already written it, but I think there is better to come. I read Breath when it first appeared and I found it disturbing for the wrong reasons. If writers use disturbing material, it has to be honest, personally and culturally. I know nothing of Winton's personal life but I know a bit about the surfing culture of the 70s and I think Breath was dishonest in that context. The reason is its treatment of what really has to be called sexual abuse. A mature adult introduces a person below the age of consent to extreme sexual practices..... that's abuse! The fact that it is a woman abusing a boy is where the dishonesty comes in for the simple reason that in that culture, at that time, the opposite was the norm......grown men abusing girls. In my experience I can recall only a single instance of an older woman abusing a boy. I stop at a dozen of men abusing girls.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:45am

You could find it, you don't need a GPS, it is called Cloudstreet. Your ignorance shows of the of Aus Lit street directory. Jeez, I had problems with Jason Di Rossos talk about Christian values. You miss the point.

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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 10:43pm

What you have to realise, it was accepted, just at the the peodhillia was that went on. It was right of passage, with all the other male shit, the interfering with children , the mysonginstic (hard word to spell) putting down of females.

Tim is consistent, long a long drawn swell, I would love to surf it with him. That means get published!

dr-surf's picture
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dr-surf commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 6:02pm

He Fucked it. Absolute disappointment. Wait 4 pirate at best.

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Timmy 56 commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 7:08pm

Watched it yesterday , with the wife , definitely underwhelming , even the pace of it had me feeling uncomfortable , and I'm a huge Tim Winton fan having grown up an hour and fifteen up the road from (Angelus) , just about to read the shepherds hut !

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 11:49pm

The pace or the death? I liked the pace, disliked the death.

How can it be underwhelming, sounds like a peculiar south coast swell.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:39am

I have his novel about Freo, the edges are yellowing.
I haven't read a book for more than seven years, I blame Tim, undeservedly.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 9:53pm

Breathe, Breath, I got pissed off, because I thought they were mispronouncing, how is the pronunciation different? It is like trying to work out the centuries, it is like the eighteenth century, but they call it the nineteenth century, confusing.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 9:52pm

1st two Roman centuries were 50 years. Then they switched to 100. Thus, 1800 years of confusion. Hope that helps.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:49am

Somewhat.

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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 10:30pm

Tim is my mate, we were surfing at Cottesloe on the very reef that when I was spearfishing on a Grand Final Afternoon, that I got dragged across, my speargun discharged, I had a scar. Fast forward seven years plus, we are at the same reef.

The guys that I was surfing with we where packing up, Tim was there in his olive troopy, I saw him and I nodded, he nodded back. I had not read any of his stuff, I hadn't read any stuff, but I knew him. I tried to tell the others, but they were blithely unaware.

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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 10:09pm

Fast forward more than seven years, more like twenty, give or take a few years. Jesus, just use the remote!

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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 10:34pm

Like all things Winton. I remember Tim talking about his parents, more importantly, sitting in a room, there were dustmotes/little bit of sunlight to light the dustmotes and books. You work there rest out.

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Mort commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 10:45pm

The Official Review - The ending is abrupt, as ending will be. But I can't remember if he becomes a politician, deadbeat, surfer. It is the Uncertainty, I am not to sure if the author has gone far enough.

Timmy 56's picture
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Timmy 56 commented Friday, 4 May 2018 at 10:46pm

Haha only room for one Winton, Mort!!!

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Mort commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 12:05am

I bet Tim hasn't placed in the Raymond Carver Short Story comp!
Why, Tim is a woos.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:04pm

Thankyou, a lovely compliment.

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CryptoKnight commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 12:15am

'He Fucked it. Absolute disappointment. Wait 4 pirate at best.'

'Watched it yesterday , with the wife , definitely underwhelming , even the pace of it had me feeling uncomfortable'

Ohhh noo... they've only just recovered from 'Drift, the world's greatest movie ever'. How long is it gonna take for the world to finally see that surfees are the most special, amazing bloody things that's ever bloody well graced this bloody cosmos!!!

Stop portraying them as fucking gumbies, because you know fucking what...

After all this time, when they were just starting to show themselves, (even slattsey seen 'em aye), right when they were just on the cusp of landing, maybe even in the pond, and now this shit happens. Not even stupe can fix it.

They're never coming now. Thanks a fucking lot.

Quint's picture
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Quint commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 6:28am

Promoted pedophilia by creepy Winton.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:58am

Your just fuckin stupid.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 1:01am

And that is calling the kettle calling the pot black, but your really black. Tim would like that.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 1:01am

Squinty Quinty

sharkman's picture
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sharkman commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 8:42am

some think Winton is a national treasure while some of us think he's just a fucken Kook!

x

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:55am

No, just a woos.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:55am

No, just a woos.

phnud's picture
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phnud commented Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 7:38pm

It's been a long time since I read the book, so I can't remember whether the flaws in the movie were evident in the book.

There was a distinct lack of drama and conflict. The characters were woefully underwritten and the relationships were threadbare. Everything was implied in a very broad sense and the audience was denied the character's various experiences of those relationships. For example, Loonie's relationship with his father was so peripheral that it carried no emotional weight. Pikelet's relationship with his father was only marginally better. I would've thought that the kids' relationship with Sando sat in stark contrast to the relationships with their fathers, but the other side of the equation was missing.

You're in dodgy territory when two of the screenwriters are the novelist and the director - neither with screenwriting experience - and the other, Gerard Lee, doesn't have strong enough chops to pull it off. A very difficult novel to adapt and probably should've been left alone. That said, proper surfing scenes for a change.

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redrocket commented Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:07am

Agree with all of phnud's insights. Was really disappointed in this movie ...thought the book was pretty good but Winton is not the best writer going around. Try a Peter Carey novel if you want a great Aussie writer

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Ralph commented Monday, 7 May 2018 at 11:56am

Latest Peter Carey novel, " A Long way From Home", is very good imo

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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 10:58pm

What has Peter Carey got to do with the price of eggs?
And I expect an Intelligent response.

Mort's picture
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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 10:56pm

O get fucked.

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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 10:54pm

But that is Tim Winton, everything is implied. That is why I love him so much. I have family that came up in South Western Australia. I derided them when I was a teenager, I didn't know better.

But my Nan loved me, in Wagin, we did shit. The last time I saw her, I spouted Hamlet, she said something along the lines, that is nice.

You are delusional if you think the relationships are threadbare. Maybe, there not your relationships, they are certainly not mine. Maybe they are a mix of both?

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phnud commented Thursday, 17 May 2018 at 7:45am

Yep, a lot is implied in the novel - as in most good pieces of writing - but you need more when adapting a novel to the screen. They are fundamentally different beasts and audiences/readers have different expectations of each of the forms. You rely too much on implication on screen and you risk losing the audience. But look, it's all a matter of opinion and taste. If you connected with the film, great. I mean, it's done over $2.5M, so it's doing something right. (I didn't like The Babadook, either, and I was largely on my own on that one.)

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Mort commented Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 8:24pm

It is not about opinion and taste in this case. It is is about history, morals, consequences. Like most stories. Granted, it is close to home and I could have written a better story, if asked.

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Mort commented Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 8:31pm

There is only one beast and he is scary.

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Mort's picture
Mort commented Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 8:55pm

I have met him, he has horns and shit and a beckoning finger. That when you know the Devil is real, he uses his beckoning finger.

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Mort commented Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 8:37pm

Opinion and taste, in Cloudstreet I remember Fishes and his girlfriend fronting up to a University do, it was implied.

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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:12pm

I have surfed at Denmark, in my Kooky stage, the surf on the South Coast is rolling. Do you think it is rolling, I remember it being rolling.

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Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:13pm

I am still in my Kooky stage, yet to become a beautiful butterfly.

owgoodaquads's picture
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owgoodaquads commented Monday, 7 May 2018 at 4:21pm

For what it's worth I found it to be quite an easy watch. Apart from the excellent cinematography and epic water scenes, I think the storyline took one essential element from a book that has a lot going on and worked into a movie length storyline. To be honest the message that seeped through (in my eyes) fits in perfectly well with all the recent commentary from Tim Winton around 'toxic masculinity'. Excellent Sunday afternoon enertainment, especially post surf.

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cgrover commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 8:12am

Really perceptive owgoodaquads, so many of the responses to the film didn't really show an understanding of the idea of the impact of male role models on the way boys develop into men. Winton has spoken at length about toxic masculinity and at the book and the film's core. The destructive nature of Sando's influence on both on Pikelet and Loonie and the absence of the father figures is more apparent in the book than film but it is still important.

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thermalben commented Monday, 7 May 2018 at 6:04pm

"Australian film Breath finished its first weekend at the box office with more than $1m in earnings across 244 screens, coming in behind The Avengers: Infinity War and I Feel Pretty."

"The film, an adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel Breath, finished at the weekend box office with $1.001m in earnings, just behind Amy Schumer’s film I Feel Pretty, which collected an additional $1.024m in its third weekend."

"But neither could defeat Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War, which finished with an additional $10m in earnings after its second weekend at box office."

That's a great result for Breathe I reckon.

Keeping in mind that last week's news was:

"New Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War broke box office records on its first weekend in Australia, making more than $20m."

"The film made $21.239m, making it Australia’s second-highest grossing film for an opening weekend. The only film to beat Avengers: Infinity War is 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made $27.254m on its opening weekend."

https://mumbrella.com.au/new-australian-film-breath-pulls-more-than-1m-o...

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mattlock commented Monday, 7 May 2018 at 8:48pm

I hope the movie is better than the book because the book was shit IMHO. Up here on the shitness level with Dirt Music,but not as shit as The Riders.

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Mort commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 12:57am

I would like to go abroad and write something as confused and wonderful as The Riders.

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mattlock commented Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 10:04am

While torturing/dragging your eleven year old kid around and refusing to accept that your wife has left you. While I'm at it, that bloke in Dirt Music should have killed himself half way through the book saving thousands of people their time finishing it.
If you want to read a quality recent Australian novel try Coal Creek by Alex Miller. yes I know Miller was born in England but he has lived here a long time and all his novels are quintessential Australian stories.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:14pm

If I win Cash Cow tomorrow, I am off!

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Kent commented Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:44pm

Thanks Stu for an insightful review of the film Breath. Saw it tonight and enjoyed every minute of it. Certainly not a 'perfect' film, with some characters being underdeveloped etc , however on balance I think Simon Baker has achieved something special with this effort. Really liked the depiction of the surfing and related fears, bravado etc that come with dealing with large waves. Which brings me to a question: Does anyone know which actual breaks were the locations for the surfing scenes (particularly the 'Old Smokey' and 'Nautilaus')?

geek's picture
geek's picture
geek commented Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 10:02am

There are some things better left a mystery :-) If you ever head to the filming location they are easy enough to find. Not sure on Nautilaus though, kind of looked like footage of 2 different waves when it barreled. Not sure on that one

the-u-turn's picture
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the-u-turn commented Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 3:06pm

The film? Loved it. I thought it was brilliant. I could feel being in deep water and believe Simon Baker has created something quite beautiful. The bride loved it too. Wonderful review Stu.

The U Turn
...a little Aloha goes a long way.

stickyson's picture
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stickyson commented Sunday, 20 May 2018 at 8:21am

Absolutely nailed bits of it. If you have ever raised a surfer, that first time you paddle out with them on a big day and encourage them just to sit there as it will make it a bit easier when it's a tad smaller. Or that very very long trip back in the dinghy and then the drive, when they haven't jumped over the side.

stickyson's picture
stickyson's picture
stickyson commented Sunday, 20 May 2018 at 8:22am

Absolutely nailed bits of it. If you have ever raised a surfer, that first time you paddle out with them on a big day and encourage them just to sit there as it will make it a bit easier when it's a tad smaller. Or that very very long trip back in the dinghy and then the drive, when they haven't jumped over the side.

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