Nicole Kidman’s performance in Kim Farrant’s Strangerland has been praised by US critics after its multi-platform US debut last Friday.
Alchemy, which paid a reported $US1.5 million for US rights, launched the psychological drama co-starring Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving on 22 screens and on VOD.
Continuing the generally positive responses since film premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, Deadline’s Pete Hammond enthused, “Nicole Kidman is the best reason to see Strangerland, an atmospheric and weirdly hypnotic but disjointed feature film debut from director Kim Farrant and screenwriters Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons.
“Kidman is in fine form with one of her juiciest and most intriguing parts in a while. It is no surprise as this star is one of Hollywood’s risk takers, always interesting to watch and always challenging herself and audiences.”
In a similar vein, the Boston Herald’s James Verniere opined, “Academy Award-winner Nicole Kidman delivers a powerful performance as troubled Australian matriarch Catherine Parker, whose teenage children go missing in the scorching, vast and mysterious outback in the drama Strangerland.
“Part Picnic at Hanging Rock, part A Cry in the Dark, Strangerland is about a semi-functional family trying to survive a crisis, while unpleasant revelations come to light, suspicions reach the boiling point and ugly accusations fly in a small town full of secrets and resentment.
"Strangerland boasts Pinter-esque domestic scenes, a potent psycho-sexual subtext and the ever-present vast, alien landscape across which insect-like townsfolk search. A feature debut by Aussie director Kim Farrant, Strangerland has atmosphere and angst to spare and offers Kidman a memorable showcase.”
While the New York Times’ Ben Kenigsberg praised the acting he found the characters’ motivations unclear and concluded the film strains credulity with its secrets and revelations to facilitate its surprises.
Less impressed was the Los Angeles Times’ Robert Abele who said, “Though Kidman is solid as a wife and mom tormented by her daughter's secret erotic life, Strangerland never successfully welds its central mystery with its psychosexual drapings, leaving neither especially interesting.”
Produced by Naomi Wenck and Macdara Kelleher, the film opened with an estimated $US15,700 on 22 screens, which is fairly typical for a multi-platform release in which VOD generates the bulk of the revenues.
As IF reported, Transmission launched Strangerland on 25 screens immediately following its Sydney Film Festival premiere, grossing $100,000 including the festival proceeds. The title was released on DVD and VOD last Friday and should benefit from the earlier release window.
Meanwhile Magnolia Pictures launched Sean Baker’s Tangerine, which has the distinction of being the first-ever feature shot on an iPhone. Audiences were curious to see the result as the transgender dramedy rang up $64,255 at just four screens in New York and Los Angeles.