Vaguely based on the play of the same name, Wayne Blair’s adaptation of the tale of an Aboriginal girl group touring Vietnam at the height of the war covers racism, child abduction and war, yet, for the most part, remains a tame depiction of the issues at hand.
Vaguely based on the play of the same name, Wayne Blair’s adaptation of the tale of
an Aboriginal girl group touring Vietnam at the height of the war covers
racism, child abduction and war, yet, for the most part, remains a tame
depiction of the issues at hand.
Having grown up in the same town in the Australian Outback,
the stubborn ensemble find themselves jetting into the war in Vietnam to bring
a little vocal encouragement to the troops under the questionable management of
luckless Dave (Chris O’Dowd playing
Chris O’Dowd). Each girl brings with them their own emotional baggage, whether
being left at the altar, being a single mum, or just irritatingly sassy while
singing seems to be the remedy for all wounds.
dough-faced charm is not wasted, shedding his seedy origins as he becomes more
attached to the girls and casting some warm and much-needed humour into the
narrative. Between performances, tensions rise with inner conflict and fleeting
Unfortunately, given the strength of the subject matter, the
cast playing The Sapphires are under-qualified. Spunky determination and a lot
of shouting at people don’t make heartfelt performances and the bulk of the
film suffers as a consequence. There is an element of fun as well as great
singing talent and the struggle to success is a proven hit in smaller
productions as The Full Monty would
have us believe but, when the film lacks the production values of a
blockbuster, the central cast has to be more than feisty.
The central musical element of the film is soul and is in
fact best personified by O’Dowd’s Dave,
whose gawky and grizzly attempts to sing and convey the meaning of soul reveals
a true passion for the genre that resonates beyond the girls’ voices.
As far as The Sapphires goes, an inoffensive foot-tapping
trip to the cinema may be enough for some but for the gusto and depth that the
subject of war or soul music deserves, this is a flat note.