Directed by Rowan Woods
First Look, opens February 24
An Aussie addiction drama with a splash of crime thriller thrown in, Little Fish boasts strong performances from the Southern Continent's acting A-list. Cate Blanchett is characteristically mesmerizing as Tracy, a thirtysomething video store clerk trying to escape her junkie rap sheet and a lousy credit rating. Veering from girlishly awkward to nervy and haggard, Tracy works hard and lives with her mum, checking out occasionally to meditate in the aquamarine depths of a swimming pool. A sweaty and decidedly un-elfin Hugo Weaving plays Lionel, an aging ex-footballer who, years ago, gave Tracy her first taste of heroin (though they remain pals). When an ex-boyfriend from her druggie past turns up, Tracy struggles to hold her head above water, while keeping the moribund Lionel out of the grips of a local druglord (played by a jowly Sam Neill). Jumbled and lurid as this sounds, Jacqueline Perske's script makes room for each character. And while Little Fish takes a turn for the generic in its final act, solid acting, an atmospheric soundtrack, and flare-filled cinematography more beautiful than an Apple screensaver are enough to keep the film afloat.