48 Shades

Review by Jade Leigh Lopez

Running Time:
  96 minutes
Director:
  Daniel Lapaine
Writers:
  Nick Earls (novel, 48 Shades of Brown) & Daniel Lapaine (screenplay)
Cast:  
  Richard Wilson (Dan)
  Robin McLeavy (Jacq)
  Emma Lung (Naomi)
  Nicholas Donaldson (Chris)
  Michael Booth (Phil)
Producers:
  Pam Collis (line producer)
  Fiona Crago (executive producer)
  Rob Marsala (producer)
Cinematography:
  Tony Luu
Production Company:
  Prima Productions
Distributor:
  Buena Vista Entertainment
Release Date:
  31 August 2006 (Australia)
Interviews:
  David Stratton speaks with director, Daniel Lapaine: <www”.abc.net.au/at the   movies/txt/s1720051.htm>
  Interviews with the cast and crew are included in the special features on the DVD
Reviews (online and print):
  Variety “48 Shades” by Richard Kupiers <http://www.variety.com /review   /VE1117931534.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0>
  Urban Cinefile (Australia) “48 Shades” by Louise Keller and Andrew L. Urban   <http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=12156&s=Reviews>
  Hoopla.nu “48 Shades” by Mark <http://hoopla.nu/films/48shades/48shades.html>
  The Film Pie “48 Shades” by Matthew Toomey <http://www.thefilmpie.com/Reviews2006/zz-48shades.html>
  ABC “48 Shades” by David Stratton <www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1720012.htm>
Online Presence:
  All of the reviews and information about this film were found online, particularly   with the use of IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. It provided detailed and   relevant information, along with links to websites that revealed more information   about the film. Although very useful it lacked box office figures, which were not   found on any other film databases or websites. <http://imdb.com/title/tt0476519/>

  The film has a page on the popular user-generated internet encyclopedia,   Wikipedia, which included cast and crew information, mainly what was featured   on IMDB, along with a plot synopsis. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/48_Shades>

Review/Synopsis:

  48 Shades is the quintessential of a coming of age film, the only sad thing is that it is predictable, cliché, and a bit anti-climatic. The film tells the tale of a college student who moves from Geneva, where his parents reside, back to Australia to live with his twenty-something aunt Jacq and her fellow uni student housemate Naomi. Dan cannot help but fall in love with Naomi, her long blonde hair and bohemian attitude wooing all those who cross her path. But there are several problems one being Naomi’s wanker of a boyfriend, (insert name). Other problems include Jacq’s unrequited love for Naomi, and the question: how does a college student get a hip university student to fall for him? Dan decides to take on several traits Naomi deems interesting which include, making pesto and bird watching.
  The film uses Romeo and Juliet, the Baz Luhrman film and the play, to symbolize Dan’s love for Naomi. Specifically when Dan first meets Naomi, they see each other through a fish tank ala the scene in Baz Luhrman’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when the young lovers first see one another. Dan’s obsession with the fish tank scene ensues, and the film begins to go downhill from there. Dan experiences a uni party, where he gets thrown up on while trying to make out with a girl, finds out his aunt is a lesbian, along with other teenage discoveries. The comedy in the film falls flat, the scene where the landlord streaks for instance is suppose to be funny, but just comes off as completely ridiculous and lacking humor because it is not really something that would happen at an average university party. Everyone knows what is going to happen at the end of the film halfway into it. Dan’s attempts at impressing Naomi will ultimately fail, he’ll realize that older women are not for him at this point in his life and generally date absolute idiots, and he should date women his own age. As with any coming of age film Dan feels like the entire world is against him. This position is obviously shown to the audience by a scene in which Dan is walking down the hallway of his college, he’s walking in one direction while everyone else is walking in the opposite direction; showing his loneliness and general teen angst.
Critical Reviews:
  Reviews of this film are quite mixed. The performances of the young cast members are praised by critics across the board, but they agree that something was lost in the translation from print to screen. Unlike the novel where Dan’s character is well developed, “Daniel Lapaine…struggles to delineate his central character” (Kuipers 2006).  Leaving critics to comment that Dan’s character is likely to be misunderstood by audiences. A positive for critics is the fact that the film was shot on location in Brisbane, which is not seem much in Australian films, David Stratton writes, “First of all, what fascinated me was that, I mean we see plenty of quintessentially Melbourne films and Sydney films, but we rarely see a film that’s specifically set in Brisbane, in the summer heat…and I liked that” (Stratton 2006). The on location shooting in Brisbane provided praise for the cinematographer, “Tony Luu’s lense wraps subtropical Brisbane and its bright young things in a warm glow…” (Kuipers 2006).  The consensus is definitely that audiences should take time to read the book rather than watch the ninety-six minute film for a fulfilling experience and understanding of the story.

Prior Work of the Cast and Crew:

Daniel Lapaine
First time director and writer in 48 Shades has not directed since, is most well known for his role as the South-African swimmer who marries for Australian citizenship in Muriel’s Wedding, has appeared in feature films and television programs in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Richard Wilson
Before 48 Shades Richard appeared in several television shows including, Out There, All Saints, McLeod’s Daughters, and Flat Chat. Just recently he was featured as Mark in the critically acclaimed Australian film Clubland, and previously to 48 Shades was in Debut, The Propisition, and Deck Dogz. Richard has been nominated for two AFI awards, one for Best Supporting Actor in Clubland in 2007, and the Young Actor’s Award in 2004 for his role in Out There. He was nominated for a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best-Actor in a Supporting Role in 2008 for Clubland. He has won a Special Commendation award in the Best Actor category at the St. Kilda Film Festival in 2006 for Debut.

Robin McLeavy
48 Shades was Robin’s first feature film appearance, she was previously on one episode of Last Man Standing, her second film is The Other Half, released in 2007.

Emma Lung
Has won three awards for her performance in Stranded including, an AFI award for Outstanding Achievement in Short Film Screen Craft, The Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding New Talent, and the Magnolia Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival. She can be seen in several films including Peaches, Footy Legends, The Jammed, and Katoomba. She has made an appearance in an episode of the popular American television show Entourage.

Nicholas Donaldson
48 Shades is Nicholas’ first feature film appearance. Prior to 48 Shades he was on the television shows Pirate Islands and Blue Heelers.

Michael Booth
Michael wrote, directed, and stared in The Hitch. He has appeared in several other films including: The Faking Game, The Saviour, and Fuel

Tony Luu
48 Shades is Tony’s second film as cinematograper, his frist was The Irving Hand Prophecy, which he also served as producer on. He has served as director of photography on two films Silencer, for which he won a best cinematography Tropfest award, and Self Serve.

Current Place in Australian Film/Genre:
  48 Shades was released in the same two years as a bundle of Australian coming of age films. Richard Wilson was actually in another coming of age film that was released just a year after 48 Shades, Clubland. Although it is in the coming of age genre, 48 Shades, is far more comedic and light hearted, and more importantly ineffectively comedic that it separates itself from the award winning coming of age films like Home Song Stories, Romulus My Father, and Clubland. Australian cinema seems to be in a state of nostalgia, bringing audiences back to their youth, while simultaneously reiterating standards of teenage and childhood behavior, no matter how stereotypical.
  48 Shades not only continues the coming of age film trend, it continues a pattern of films being taken from page to screen. 48 Shades is based on the novel award-winning 48 Shades of Brown. Other Australian films that started as books are listed here. This not only fits into an Australian trend, but an international film trend. Some examples from the last year include: Atonement, The Kite Runner, and The Golden Compass.