Never has there been a scenario more rife with drama for the cinema to mine then that of the family drama, especially an affluent and powerful one. "The Eye of the Storm" follows the powerful matriarch of a family who still commands a great deal of influence over her children in her final days and shows how the bonds of family in one way or another will never be broken.
Directed by Fred Schepisi
“The Eye Of The Storm” brings us to a Sydney suburb; two nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth Hunter (Rampling) as her expatriate son and daughter (Rush & Davis) convene at her deathbed. In dying, as in living, Mrs. Hunter remains a formidable force on those around her. Estranged from a mother who was never capable of loving them her children attempt to reconcile with her and in doing so they are reduced from states of worldly sophistication to floundering adolescence. Panic sets in as the children and the staff sense the impending end of their eccentric world as the assertion of her will to live on her own terms is in its final days.
Director Fred Schepisi has been working fairly solid as a director since the 70’s with films like ‘A Cry In The Dark’, ‘The Russia House’ and ‘Six Degrees Of Separation’ so his track record as a story teller is fairly solid. All in all he did a serviceable job, the story moves along well enough however there were some editing problems that pulled focus away from the story somewhat. The script is good enough but given the Nobel prize winning novel that was source material for the film it is understandable that this savagely honest and brutal portrayal of the complications that arise in family relationships had some holes but the high quality of the cast filled in most of the gaps.
Charlotte Rampling as the powerful matriarch simply commands the screen much like she has done for the past 4+ decades in her performance as Elizabeth Hunter. Rampling embodied a powerful woman facing her final days not with a whimper but with a powerful roar of defiance as she faces her maker in her own way. Rush and Davis as her wayward children looking for some sort of closer with her are good in their respective roles as they were consistently overshadowed by the domineering mother in every way, it does push them as actors into the background but that was the nature of the story as a whole.
Ultimately, “The Eye Of The Storm” was an interesting character drama with a solid performance at the centre of it by Charlotte Rampling and despite some flow and editing problems it’s still worth a look especially for fans of Rampling and it's a fine example of the craft of acting.
3 out of 5 stars.