I have to state at the outset that I have only seen the shortened DVD version of After the Deluge, so that's all I can comment on.
I've just watched this made for TV mini series for the third time, gaining something new from each screening, and I think it will stand up to many further viewings too, because of the depth of the work. It may have been edited down (perhaps "distilled" would be a kinder way of putting it) from a much longer piece, but believe me it still works extremely well. What a truly excellent piece of creative TV, beautifully written, convincingly acted and genuinely moving. I just wish TV of this caliber were more widely available where I live on the American west coast.
The story revolves around an elderly father and his three adult sons who have all, in their own ways, failed to live up to the expectations of those around them. Cliff, the father, now vanishing into the fog of Alzheimer's, survived trauma and near death in WW2, but after losing the love of his life, he gave up on the promising musical career he should have had and became instead a bitter and bullying dad, arguably betraying the people who sacrificed so that he might live. We see his life in flashback as he retreats mentally into the past, and it's as good a portrayal of Alzheimer's as you are likely to see anywhere soon. Alex, with a high achieving career and two kids he hardly sees, has sleepwalked into the failure of his marriage, Toby doesn't have the children he and his wife so much long for, and Marty can't readjust to the demise of his life as a rock and roll star, and has lapsed into cynical dissolution.
They each have good reason to dislike their father, Marty the most. The story follows their individual struggles with the disappointments of their own lives, while also trying to sort out their relationship with each other and their father. It's not a feel good movie, but the resolutions are real and satisfying.
It's really unfair to pick out any one performance as they are all excellent, without exception, a great cast. But I really enjoyed Hugo Weaving's turn as the old rocker and Rachel Griffiths as the woman he falls for. David Wenham shone as Alex, showing realistic emotions and frustrations as he tries to come to terms with his marriage disintegrating, and Samuel Johnson was wonderful as nice-guy Toby. But for me the greatest pleasure was to see Ray Barrett as old Cliff. Here is an actor I remember from my childhood, playing an oilman in The Troubleshooters and, of course, Tracy Senior in Thunderbirds! How wonderful to see him working still. I wish I could find the full length version of this series.
Addendum: I just revisited this film after some months. That's something I like to do with favorite pieces. My membership of that excellent online DVD rental service is almost equally divided between watching stuff I missed on cinema release, and revisiting old friends. This time around it was even more compelling, and I picked up nuamces I missed before. Hugo Weaving continues to impress me with his range since I watched V for Vendetta. And each time I watch it, David Wenham's performance here looks better and better. It's very subtle. I think he is really at his best portraying ordinary blokes coping with unexpected circumstances. Nothing flashy or over the top. Just real.
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