Sailor girl Georgia Perry (Radha Mitchell) sets off to break a solo around the world record, sponsored by a cosmetics company, in a deal her boyfriend Luke (Dominic Purcell) has organised. Alone on her 38 foot yacht Leander, save for her cat Taco, with her one link to the outside world a two-way radio, Georgia is on the homeward stretch when her craft is becalmed in a dense fog. Soon, the demons of her past start to invade her present, including her mother (Susannah York) and her dying father (Ray Barrett).
Review by Louise Keller:
With its impressive list of credits including the talented Radha Mitchell, Susannah York and Ray Barrett in the acting stakes, plus acclaimed cinematographer Ellery Ryan and award-winning composer Nerida Tyson-Chew, it is a bitter disappointment to find Visitors a less-than-enthralling 90 minutes of entertainment.
In fact, it feels very long, this story about a lone sailor whose demons from the past haunt her, as the line between reality and fantasy blurs. The premise makes me think of a Dead Calm setting in the middle of the ocean with a Solaris-like theme of uninvited guests piercing into our psyche.
But the premise simply does not last the distance, as the revelation of people from Georgia’s past appearing as ghosts in the night loses its impact beyond the terrifying moments when her mother appears suddenly in the tiny confines of the 38-foot yacht.
Radha Mitchell is a terrific talent and is eminently watchable as Georgia, the ambitious young woman whose life has a cloud of guilt hovering above it. She is as good as the material permits, as are Suzannah York as the demented mother, and Ray Barrett as the loving, supportive father. For Georgia, the trip represents a challenge of several kinds: from achieving her life-long dream to dealing with emotional issues from her past. Everything comes to a head during her journey – from the mental challenges to the relationship with her fiancé, who seems to have an agenda of his own. I was most fascinated by Taco, the ever-faithful ginger tabby cat, who purrs, pricks up ears, snuggles up in bed, hisses and looks quizzically - all on cue. There’s even a moment when he unexpectedly ‘hangs’ himself on a dangling good luck chain, but fortunately, there was no harm done (to Taco, that is). Unfortunately, the voice of Taco (voiced by Steven Grives) does not work at all, and comes across as some kind of very poor joke. A journey of discovery with psychological and spiritual elements may offer some good ideas for a movie, but that movie has yet to be made.
Published April 15, 2004
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VISITORS: DVD (M)
CAST: Radha Mitchell, Ray Barrett, Phil Ceberano, Tottie Goldsmith, Dominic Purcell, Susannah York
DIRECTOR: Richard Franklin
SCRIPT: Everett De Roche
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: biographies, photo gallery, trailers
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: April 14, 2004