Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Walking on Water|
Actors: Vince Colosimo, Maria Theodorakis, Nathaniel Dean, Judi Farr, Nicholas Bishop
Director: Tony Ayres
Friends and family gather around the death bed of Gavin, where they assist in the dying man's suicide. But though Gavin's pain has been laid to rest, the grief felt by everyone there has only begun, and Walking on Water... more »
One Brave Reality Check
perlking | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | 05/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"2002 Drama directed by and starring Vince Colosimo (Lantana), Maria Theodorakis, Nathaniel Dean.
Another great Australian movie to prove that we have the right stuff. This is a touching drama about a group of friends who come together over the death of one of them, Gavin, from AIDS. In the beginning of the movie, Gavin is still alive but quickly deteriorates. From there, we learn that his parting wishes left for his friends who have been by his side for 18 months is to end his suffering when it gets this bad. The matter is complicated when Gavin's mother turns up at his side and proves to know nothing of her son's wishes. A doctor is brought in and a lethal dose injected, but in a heart-wrenching scene, he fails to die, after many attempts in the end it is Charlie (Colosimo) who ends it by suffocating him. After this gruesome end, all the friends and family are disturbed and we are taken into their world for the following few days. Excellent acting all round by a stellar cast of relative unknowns ensure this movie is presented honestly. The characters of Charlie and Anna (Theodorakis), the two housemates are both hugely affected by the happenings and their lives are thrown into turmoil as are their mental states. Very moving film about real people.
"You succeeded in taking everything from me!"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Euthanasia is always a touchy subject, which is why Australian director Tony Ayres' film Walking on Water is such an important and significant film. Approaching the issue with finesse, delicacy, and unbridled honesty, Ayres' story is, at once, genuinely moving and also wisely unsentimental. Using a gay man's death by AIDS as the focal point, Walking on Water recounts the what happens in the lives of his friends and family after his death. This isn't an easy movie to watch - it's raw and edgy, and anyone who is familiar with Sydney's young, attractive party set will know that they don't handle grief and loss terribly well. Drowning their sorrows in copious amounts of booze and drugs is often seen as the only alternative to facing reality.
The movie begins with images of Gavin, a young, terminally ill man who is being nursed on his deathbed by his best friends and housemates Charlie (a terrific Vince Colosimo), Anna (Maria Theodorakis), and Frank; Charlie's live in lover. Anna is Gavin's business partner in a design firm. Gavin has left strict instructions that he'd rather die at home than in a hospice, so his friends and family have enlisted the help of a sympathetic doctor to assist with the suicide. But when the overdose morphine injections fail to kick in, Charlie suddenly finishes the job by putting a plastic bag over his head to suffocate him. This takes away the dignified death that Gavin had originally requested.
Margaret, (Judy Farr) Gavin's estranged mother, Gavin's hunky brother Simon, and his wife Kate arrive from the South Australia just as Gavin is about to die. Margaret is shattered at her son's illness, and while she's thankful that his friends have taken care of all the arrangements, she feels uneasy around them. In death as in life, she's viewed as an outsider. Margaret tries to keep her thoughts to herself, but she's bitter, upset, and also angry that she couldn't be there more for her son.
After the funeral, Margaret returns home, and Charlie and Anna are left cope with the emptiness and loss. They had years of good times with Gavin - the drugs, the drinking and the nightclubbing; he was almost like a brother to them. Charlie turns to hedonism to waylay his grief - he finishes off the morphine, does lines of cocaine, smokes lots of weed and drinks far too much. It doesn't help that Frank feels unsettled and wants to leave the relationship.
Anna, steely and resourceful, falls into bed with Simon who stays on after the funeral. She just can't resist the uncomplicated country lad and is soon taking him nightclubbing to her decadent gay druggie haunts. Simon wants to feel alive so takes ecstasy at the club, but soon passes out after sniffing amyl nitrate and heads back to his wife and the safe security of country life.
This is an introspective film that is filled with melancholy and loss. Everyone is hurting and uncommunicative and they just cannot face the realities of life. They have all been united in their love for Gavin, but now there's a chilling feeling of inevitability resting over their lives. Anna is angry at Charlie for taking away the dignity of Gavin's death and Charlie is furious at Anna for trying to break up Frank's marriage. The handling of grief and the testing of long-term loyalties and friendships are at the heart of this profound, subtle, and sensitively acted drama.
Vince Colosimo gives a staggeringly sexy and tender performance as Charlie, cementing his reputation as one of Australia's most dynamic and gifted actors. Maria Theodorakis is also exceptional as Anna: She's fragile yet resilient, and is determined to rise above Charlie's hedonistic grief. All the characters are in desperate situations as Gavin's death forces the group to rethink their priorities and their lives, while also encouraging them to finally grow up. Rich and multi-layered, with it's powerful and candid depictions of grief, heartache, and loss, Walking on Water is one of the best films to come out of Australia in recent years. Mike Leonard May 05.
Life, Death, Friendships and Other Anomalies
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"WALKING ON WATER is disturbing in the best sense of the word: it calls forth a sense of identification with each of the major characters in this story and makes us uncomfortable while providing avenues for insight and change. Were that all movies had the emotional and spiritual impact of this fine film written by Roger Monk and directed newcomer Tony Ayres.
The setting is Sydney, Australia and the mood is established by cinematographer Robert Humphreys' panoramas of the ocean and inlets and coastlines surrounding this city. Gavin (David Bonney) is dying with AIDS and has been attended in his home by his friend and business partner Anna (Maria Theodorakis) and caregiver Charlie (Vince Colosimo) and Charlie's lover Frank (Nicholas Bishop). It is Gavin's wish to die with dignity and when the time comes for the assisted suicide, the designated doctor Dr Simms (Timothy Jones) administers IV morphine while Gavin is surrounded by his extended family as well as his brother Simon (Nathaniel Dean) and wife Kate (Anna Lisa Phillips) and his mother (Judi Farr). The euthanasia does not seem to be working and in desperation Charlie places a plastic bag over Gavin's head to hasten the requested death - a deed that will haunt Charlie and the rest at the bedside.
Anna remains apparently calm in the immediate aftermath, tending to the 'funeral' arrangements according to Gavin's requests. Gavin's mother appears to want to make up for years of distance by interceding in the plans and the will, but Anna is strong and the service goes as planned. After the funeral the mother and Simon's wife leave to return to their home away form Sydney, leaving Simon to remain until Gavin's ashes are ready for transport. In this 'home' things begin to disintegrate: Charlie attempts to evade his guilt about his final assistance by anesthetizing himself with morphine elixir, cocaine, alcohol and barhopping. His behavior further distances his lover Frank and the latter ends the relationship. Anna finds emotional outlet in placing demands on Charlie and eventually sublimates her loss by escaping into physical encounters with Simon, taking him to bed and to bars and to drugs all of which eventually awaken Simon to his infidelity to Kate and results in his leaving the 'home'.
The climax of the film is the confrontation of those who were closest to Gavin - Anna and Charlie - who in despair vent their rage so intimately associated with the death of a loved one and search for a path of recovery. It is this means of healing that comprises the ending of this richly tender film.
Actors Vince Colosimo and Maria Theodorakis are exceptionally fine in their roles and the supporting cast is homogeneously fine. Judi Farr gives one of those cameos that breathes 'best supporting actress'! The concept of how extended families intertwine with genetic families in times of stress is as well shown in this film as any in memory. One criticism: much of the excellent script is lost to poor sound editing, to the good but overly loud music, and most important to the lack of English subtitles for those of us who are not intimately familiar with the varying Australian accents! Watch this film twice and with trained ears you'll appreciate it even more. Grady Harp, May 05
The grieving process
William | Australia | 01/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Walking on Water was critically acclaimed upon its release in 2002 in Australia. It focusses on a range of individuals who are all linked to a friend who has died of AIDS, assisted by euthanasia. However, the euthanasia does not work, so one of the friends (Charlie) helps the process by placing a plastic bag over his head. This, of course fuels much friction with the remaining friend's, even with Charlie himself who now has to live with the guilt of what he has done.
Walking on Water has moments of brilliance, but overall it is not the masterpiece I had been told it was. I found it difficult to care for any of the characters, and at the end of the day, that was the director's intention (I think)."