Friday, 14 June 2013

The Fabulous Bus.

This blog covers a lot of topics. We have seen films from every end of the spectrum of movie-making. But today we touch on something new: lip-syncing drag queens. Naturally, the film won an Oscar for costume design but will it avoid being like its characters and not be a drag? Let us see. This is The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Two drag-queens, Anthony/Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce), and a transsexual, Bernadette (Terence Stamp), get invited to perform their lip-sync act at a holiday resort in a remote location in the middle of the Australian desert. In order to get there, Adam buys a large bus and dubs it Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. They kit it out with dresses and cushions and a giant shoe and away they go. Sounds like an easy ride right? Wrong. The bus, of course, breaks down in the middle of nowhere leaving the guys - er - girls struggling with boredom and each other. How do they fill their time? They sing, they dance, they meet Bob (Bill Hunter) who gets them up and running, and they discover a shocking secret or two about one another.

Nothing fabulous about road trips, they said.

Now, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp are no strangers to acting challenges. Stamp has even been nominated for an Oscar in the past. But there is nothing quite like Priscilla in their resumes. All of them are fantastic, as one would no doubt assume, and they are not only hilarious, they are touching too. All three protagonists have stories, pasts, and back drops that have led them to this point in their lives and all three actors do an incredible job of showing that. They masterfully portray everything and sometimes it is as simple as a glance or the delivery of a line. All three have wonderful comic timing as well. Pearce is gifted with throwing dramatic hissy fits and being his own queen of the desert, Weaving's talent lies in his unbelievable ability to lip-sync and a true mastering of the bitchface, and nobody can deliver a insult quite like Stamp. Some of the best lines in the film come from Bernadette in her constant conflict with idiotic and excitable people along her travels.

An example of the more touching side of the film.

Of course, without wonderful writing, there would no witty dialogue for the actors. The writing contains some absolute gems that will stick in your memory for years to come. The entire plot is hilarious and the characters are so well written and developed that the whole things just works despite seeming on the surface like an overly glorified road trip. And on top of everything, it is all very pretty. The costume are beautiful, the dances are bright, and the colours are eye-popping. The films flaws only lie in the ending. A strangely bitter sweet finish that leaves you feeling somewhat dissatisfied, almost like a film of build up to no end. Definitely not enough to dampen the film, in fact, in some ways it makes you want to watch it all again, After all, the art of a good story is not what happens, but how it happens; who does not enjoy a good journey?

A really, really enjoyable film. It is like taking the road trip of your life and there's something extremely therapeutic about watching world respected actors running around high heels and colourful dresses.

Best Bit? A brilliant dance in the desert with the Aboriginals. A classic scene in film.

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