The New Boy by Warwick Thornton [7/10]

Warwick Thornton is a fascinating writer/director with a grand cinematographic eye, so I came to “The New Boy” with bated breath. A tale of an indigenous boy captured and placed in a remote orphanage, it opens with one of the most spellbinding scenes I have witnessed this year. Indeed the filmic images throughout are stunning, burnished by a brooding, sometimes pounding, score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. The debut star turn by young Aswan Reid entrances, and Cate Blanchett is as compelling as ever. The storyline, essentially one of a clash of cultures and the evils of captive education, holds the attention, but in the second half of the movie, the script slackens and often mystifies. The ending, while only slightly ambiguous, fails to round the story, and the overall impression of The New Boy is of an arthouse wonderment only loosely aligned with a strong narrative. Well worth seeing but, as the cliche goes, a missed opportunity.

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