Ten Canoes
Not much of a budget for wardrobe in this film.

Theatrical Release Date: 06/29/2006 (Australia), 06/01/2007 (USA)
Director: Rold de Heer & Peter Djigirr
Cast: Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil, David Gulpilil

This is going to be one of those shortened reviews. It’s not that a full one couldn’t be written but that I don’t think most of those genii that read this site would want to see this and I wasn’t moved enough to plead its case.

“Ten Canoes” is based on an Aboriginal story and I would hope that it is quite accurate considering the legitimacy of its casting. A morality tale about a man who covets his brother’s wife, any fans of the bible (or those of us subjected to losing an hour of our Sundays growing up) are familiar with this basic story idea.

The film plays out like a National Geographic film, being told in psuedo-present day and showing flashbacks to a past era – and it is this slow, methodical method that drains any sense of movement to the tale. I think the central message and story could have been told in 15 minutes and the filmmakers decided to take this opportunity to portray Aboriginal life.

From a sociological standpoint, that’s very interesting. From an entertainment standpoint, not so much.

All of the “acting” is done well and it really did look like a human version of “Meerkat Manor”, blurring fiction and reality. I just couldn’t be pinned down to watch this again unless I was going for an extra college degree or paid fair compensation.

So if you’re big into anthropology, sociology or Aboriginal culture, by all means give this a whirl. Otherwise, find a better way to use your time. I’m giving “Ten Canoes” a 2 out of 5. Even a film that is essentially a quasi-documentary should be more engaging.