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Little Fish 

Rowan Woods

Little Fish
Directed by: Rowan Woods
(First Look)
Cate Blanchett is Tracy, a recovering drug addict holding down a job at a video store in a working class suburb of Sydney, Australia. She has the slumped-shouldered look of a malnourished mare, which suits the character perfectly. Her family is a mess: a depressed mother, drug-dealing brother, and suddenly back in her life, an ex-boyfriend from the bad old days. Then there’s Lionel, a family friend still on the junk. He’s played by Hugo Weaving, who most people will know as Agent Smith from the Matrix movies. Here he’s a revelation, grizzled and utterly unrecognizable. His and Blanchett’s performances are what give Little Fish its heart, with strong support from Sam Neill as a drug kingpin. It is tough going in places: the pacing is soft through the middle and there’s a doom-laden tone common to junkie pictures—you just don’t believe these characters will ever get out of their personal hells. Tracy endures not one, but two awkward scenes where she is refused a bank loan because she was once charged with credit card fraud. But Little Fish will reward the patient viewer. The cinematography is lovely and the script has enough surprises to give the final reel a kick. Overall, though, it’s really Weaving’s movie, as he pulls an amazing Daniel Day-Lewis-style metamorphosis.
—Carsten Knox

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