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:: Strange Planet

Strange Planet follows the lives of two groups of 20-somethings in Australia over the course of a year of their lives. They bounce from relationship to relationship and one emotional crisis after another, all the while searching for love and meaning.

A lot about Strange Planet is contrived and much of it is overly self-conscious. The characters, for instance, are a lot of fun, but they don't really feel natural, and they aren't given much to work with from month to month. With six lead characters, of course, it's a little difficult to keep track of each respective plot and all the peripheral characters. It's hard enough to tell the main characters apart, though they are identifiable by their one-dimensional traits. Judy (Claudia Karvan) is hell-bent on advancing her career, even if it means using men to do it. Sally (Alice Garner) is big into parties, sex, and experimentation. Alice (Naomi Watts) is more reserved, living vicariously through her buddies. As for the guys, Neil (Felix Williamson) is a geek desperate for a meaningful relationship, Ewan (Felix Williamson) is too clingy, and Joel (Aaron Jeffery) is emotionally shattered post-divorce.

None of the setups are particularly original, and more often than not, the characters seem to be reacting to the plot rather than motivating it (not that there is much of a plot anyway). Part of the problem is the rather unwieldy cast. A few of the characters have interesting things to do but many of the storylines are unfocused. And since all are given equal screentime, large portions of the film fall flat.

Emma-Kate Croghan loves stylistic flourishes, and her somewhat disjointed, energetic direction breathes some life into the screenplay. Each month is depicted with an onscreen title and some impressive time-lapse footage of Sydney, and throughout she mixes slow and fast-motion, montage, humorous flashbacks, and camera tricks. Croghan (who also co-wrote), stages some effective scenes, but she seems to have done her best to fit in her directorial quirks whether or not they make sense emotionally.

DVD Extras

- Audio commentary for feature by Emma-Kate Croghan (director)
- Theatrical trailer
- 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo audio for feature
- Aspect Ratio 1.85:1