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| 19 December 2018 | Reply

Written & Directed by Corey Pearson
Starring Jessica Falkholt, Jerome Meyer, Eamon Farren, Paula Arundell, Jacqueline McKenzie
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Harmony is the first in a planned series of five fantasy thrillers produced here in Australia, all slated to star fresh young actress Jessica Falkholt before her tragic death alongside her family in a car accident in between filming and release.

The fact the film is ambitious, stylish and surrounded by such tragedy makes writing such a bad review seem unsympathetic, but as movies go, it just isn’t very good. In fact, Falkholt’s performance is the one thing which made perfect sense in this muddled film, making her loss even more palpable. It’s fair to say she would have been a huge star given the chance.

Falkholt stars as Harmony, an industrial strength empath of sorts who can absorb fear from others in the form of a black goo, which she must then wash away with water. Cool ideas, poorly executed here. The process also causes Harmony pain, and too much can weaken or even kill her. Squatting in a hovel she crosses paths with rich kid Mason and street hood Jimmy, who send shockwaves through her life in very different ways.

Falkholt brings all the gravitas possible to the role of someone who has learnt to live with this terrible burden which is also a gift. The trepidation and reluctance Harmony feels when relieving others of their pain is masterfully acted.

Perhaps because of the loss of its star, perhaps because of limitations with its budget, perhaps because this was writer/director Corey Pearson’s debut full length film – I don’t know why – Harmony is a disjointed and unsatisfying movie.

Obviously designed to appeal to the Twilight/Hunger Games set, there are some great ideas here, stylishly rendered at times, but too much of the story is left to guesswork. Moods and motivations and missions seem to change with little or no explanation. Jerome Meyer’s Mason and Eamon Farren’s Jimmy are both painfully one dimensional – Meyer especially is terribly unconvincing in the role.

There is a very good film at the heart of Harmony, but it hasn’t made it onto the screen, and the end result instead is more turgid melodrama than anything else. To quote my eleven-year-old daughter, “I can see what they were trying to do…”

Harmony’s sequels are going to be hard pushed to find someone with the emotional range and depth to replace Falkholt, but even more than that, they’ll need a solid rethink, a healthier budget and schedule, and a fresh pair of eyes before being able to fulfil the potential of Pearson’s ideas.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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