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SYNOPSIS: Inside one of the many operating theatres of an old, abandoned hospital, Julius (Diarmid Heidenreich) awakes strapped to a table, disorientated and terrified. On the side of the room a single monitor shows him a live feed of his ex-wife Nicole (Bel Deliá) trapped downstairs in the morgue. A man (Peter O'Brien) appears in surgeon's scrubs, and explains that he will be tortured unspeakably and after five days, killed, at which point, his girlfriend will be set free. However, if he cannot endure the unspeakable pain, his beloved will be killed in his place. All he has to say is 'enough'.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Distinguished by Steve Arnold's excellent cinematography and Enrica Sciandrone's haunting score, Love of My Life is also notable for the performances of its leads, from that of Diarmid Heidenreich as Julius the unfortunate victim and struggling hero, to the
director Michael Budd playing our hero's buddy Reggie and the feisty Isaro Kayitesi as Reggie's girlfriend, through to lovely Bel Deliá as the ex who is imprisoned in a morgue awaiting her fate.

If all these parts added up to a greater sum, the film would be a taut addition to Australia's horror/torture genre pile, given that Budd has a flair for extracting elongated tension from the concept. But a couple of major flaws infect the film, notably the device of time shifting that is somehow coupled to premonitions, in which the future and the past collide, further compacted by dream and fantasy sequences. These add nothing and only tend to distract as the tension sags, while inconsequential scenes play out.

Of course it's part of the package and films that portray unrelenting torture tend to lose audiences, so breaking up and spreading out those moments are filmic insurance. The Saw and Wolf Creek films show variations on how filmmakers deal with these issues, but this screenplay lacks the inventiveness of those. Or perhaps it tries too hard to fuse a romantic glaze over the ugly pretext.

The American accents (except the baddie's, with Peter O'Brien's neutral English in a minimalist and powerful performance) and the absence of an indication of where the action is taking place, gives the film a disconnectedness, cut off from any reality. That, coupled with the absurdity of the premise, deprives the film of its potential to horrify. In the end it seems the filmmakers found an idea but didn't know what to do with it.

Published March 18, 2015

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(Australia, 2013)

CAST: Peter O'Brien, Bel Deliá, Michael Budd, Diarmid Heidenreich, Isaro Kayitesi, Ripley Hood

PRODUCER: Michael Budd

DIRECTOR: Michael Budd

SCRIPT: Liam Barrett


EDITOR: Ryan Mcguire

MUSIC: Enrica Sciandrone

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Monika Azcona, Azure Chapman

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Eagle Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: March 11, 2015

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