Before the Cannes Film Festival even began this year, The Weinstein Company made their usual round of high-profile acquisitions, and among the more curious selections, a largely unknown Aussie flick called “The Sapphires” made its way into the mix. As more info was released, it became clear that TWC found the film to be exactly the crowd-pleaser they needed among their quirkier offerings, and now a few new images have hit the web to give a glimpse of exactly what caused the sale.
Set in Australia as the Vietnam War looms, “The Sapphires” follows four Aboriginal sisters who battle racism from locals to perform for soldiers in combat overseas. Once they meet a chronically soused, white keyboardist/manager, played by Chris O’Dowd, he takes them under his questionable wing, and provides the final element for the girls’ dream to finally come true. The Wayne Blair-directed flick was written by Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson, and also features a cast that includes Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, and Miranda Tapsell.
The ingredients are all present — the period drama tackles racial politics of the time while maintaining a breezy musical narrative, but according to our account from Cannes, that approach is exactly the film’s biggest weakness. We praised the invested performance of O’Dowd, but found the rest a “wildly uneven film, one that wants to talk about racism, Aboriginal rights and racial identity, but continually pushes those elements to the side in the favor of songs and feel-good bantering.”
So, a mixed bag, but exactly the sort of film TWC has proved impeccable at marketing to the public in years past. Check out the images from the film, and get ready to hear all about “The Sapphires” when it’s released, likely in fall 2012.