We know what you want. Or so they claimed. The tagline for the Adelaide Film Festival, Hive and South Australian Film Corporation’s The Boy Castaways is a wildly ambitious project.
We know what you want. Or so they claimed. The tagline for the Adelaide Film Festival, HIVE and South Australian Film Corporation’s The Boy Castaways isn’t quite accurate for this wildly ambitious project. Writer/director Michael Kantor comes from a theatre background, with this being his first foray into film. In retrospect, his native medium may have been more appropriate for the project. Touted as a twisted retelling of Peter Pan, perhaps the only real overt connection to the project’s inspiration is the ‘not wanting to grow up’ theme. Mark Leonard Winter is chalky as Michael, who is drawn from his “normal” life by relentless messages of ‘we know what you want’, leading him to a mysterious theatre (Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, in all her glory). From here we meet a very bizarre mix of characters from a cast pulled from their respective specialties, namely Megan Washington (theatre manager Sarina), You Am I‘s Tim Rogers (hyperactive Peter), Marco Chiappi (self-important George) and wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly Nico (Paul Capsis — in a wedding dress). We are unsure whether these characters are friend or foe to Michael and suspect that this is Kantor’s intention. As the events unfold with riddles for dialogue and overacting aplenty, the potential for an avant-garde masterpiece begins the crumble as a lack of character development makes it hard to become engrossed in the climax. While some scenes are beautifully shot, much of the fantasy of The Boy Castaways is lost on the screen through editing and a pesky focus on the characters in the scenes, rather than the scenes as a whole. This is especially notable during the scenes on the stage, where elements including songs from Washington and Rogers and performers from the Australian Dance Theatre become lost, rather than appreciated as they should be. While flawed in its execution, the colour and concept of The Boy Castaways is encouraging for South Australian film and theatre.