REVIEW – Van Diemen’s Land (2009)

VideoVista have my review of Jonathan auf der Heide’s Van Diemen’s Land.

The film is all about Alexander Pearce, a man who escaped from a British penal colony only to wind up killing and eating the people he escaped with.  The film itself is almost a remake of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising (2009), a film I reviewed and ranted about at some length for its generic style.  Much like Valhalla Rising, Van Diemen’s Land fails to say anything of substance about the issues it raises.  This is largely due to a failure on behalf of both directors to understand their literary source material : Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

On the plus side, watching this film did prompt me to seek out James Rowland’s The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (2008), which is a much better and more thought-provoking film that really gets to grips with what it is that might transform a man from a petty thief into a monster.