Oyster Farmer
Can’t we just stop and ask for directions? – No!

Theatrical Release Date: 06/30/2005 (Australia), No offical USA release
Director: Anna Reeves
Cast: Alex O’Loughlin, Jim Norton, Diana Glenn, David Field

Set up the Hawkesbury River, south of Sydney, “Oyster Farmer” is yet another beautiful Australian film that somehow wandered into my DVD player.

Using the beautiful river landscape as a backdrop, the film is about a man who is constantly running away from his life. He gets a job harvesting oysters and becomes attached to the small community therein.

Alex O’Loughlin (the son of AC/DC lead singer Bonn Scott for you trivia buffs) plays the mysterious man who tries to keep his life from everyone, while at the same time crying out for a sense of connection with the world.

In a sense, the film is about figuring out what you want in life and reconciling that with what you already have. Being able to do that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

There are good supporting performances, especially by Jim Norton as the patriarch of the oyster farming family that O’Loughlin joins. Norton plays a cantankerous, meddling old man whose wisdom is belied by his snarkiness.

Besides having that je ne sais quoi that Australian cinema seems to have in its very spirit, the nice thing about this film is that it doesn’t reach too high.

There are subplots but they are dealt with peripherally and simply. There isn’t a big convoluted tangle of stories to unravel.

“Oyster Farmer” is a simple, beautiful film and I’m going to give out a solid 3 out of 5. By the way, there isn’t any scientific evidence that oysters are an aphrodisiac … it’s a myth that is propelled by our own desire to believe. Just a little tip from your Uncle Hank.