Picnic at Hanging
NOTE: Comment contains spoilers.
11 February 2000
I've just finished watching Picnic at Hanging Rock for the first time. A mesmerizing film and never content to let us just sit back and wonder "whodunit." A point even arrives when any speculation as to guilt in the two young men is completely done away with–we learn of their great trust in one another and are given glimpses into their hearts. A wholly unexpected surprise is revealed late in the film, in discussion of a dream, that contributes yet another level to the sense of mystery in the film, the sense of never knowing quite where you are in relation to the world around you.
I do, however, wish more would have been revealed as to the specificity behind the conflicted feelings in Ms. Appleyard–she too often seemed like just a villainous bitch. And I wish the original score (replete with pan flute) had been up to the level (in its fitting over scenes) as was the frequently employed passage from Beethoven's Emperor–its passages were lit up by the music in some dreamy, misty way. A great film and analyses - both of which have me wanting to put Loreena McKennitt's The Mask and Mirror in the CD player that I might listen to "The Bonny Swans."
Thanks for your comments on Picnic at Hanging Rock! I agree with you on all points, but chose not to discuss the second hour of the film in as much detail as the first. At the time, I was concerned about including too many spoilers, and wanted to write a review anyone could read... not just people who had already seen the film. Regarding Mrs. Appleyard–while I agree that more specificity would have helped–by the end all my hostility towards her had dissipated, and I just felt sorry for her. She is merely a product of her environment; the one who had always been taught that the uncontrollable can, and should, be controlled. Ultimately, all Peter Weir's films (with the possible exception of Green Card) deal with humans interacting with unknowable and powerful forces, and had Weir answered all our questions definitively, Picnic at Hanging Rock would have been greatly diminished.
I hope you've had a chance to see this film on DVD. All VHS copies that I've run across are of terrible quality, and the DVD is wonderfully crisp by comparison, and of course is in widescreen.
That's odd... I was just listening to that Loreena McKennitt CD this weekend.
January 18, 2001
Hi Carlo, Hanging Rock is not in the Outback. It's in a rural area but not the Outback.
Have you ever been to Australia?
Sorry, but I had to tell you that.
Thanks for pointing out the error. I've removed it from the review. No, I haven't been to Australia.
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