• Name: Rabbit
• Year: 2017
• Country: Australia
• Director: Luke Shanahan
• Main cast: Adelaide Clemens, Alex Russell, Veerle Baetens
• Runtime: 89 minutes
• Production company: Longshot, Projector Films, Head Gear Films
The first thing I think about when I listen to the word “rabbit” is the animal being chased. It’s that kind of image that we all have, with the defenseless little flurry ball and the relentless chaser in the woods. This serves as a metaphor to introduce this Australian film from director and writer Luke Shanahan, a story about two twin sisters that are somehow being chased by a cult who wants to perform experiments in twins.
When Maude suddenly vanishes during her anatomy practices in Berlin, we know something is going wrong. She was living away from home, away from her sister Clea, who has suddenly and without explanation disappeared, and not even her fiancé knows where she’s gone. So she decides (or she needs to, because it’s a strong connection feeling between twins) to go search her, returning to Adelaide, in her natal Australia, in a difficult quest where she finds herself alone, no family support, leaving her life on hold to try to understand a situation that apparently has no explanation. From here on, it’s like “going down the rabbit hole” (again the title reference): as a lost Alice, they will find themselves in the middle of cults and experiments, although that’s just the frame of the story. As the director himself expressed in the Q&A we had the chance to attend, the film has two parts (one for Maude, the other for Clea) that are focused on the twins and their perspective; going deeper in the experiments would be material for another movie, same as cults and community guides experiences.
The division in two is also very present in the Original Soundtrack, with the first half being a kind of Carpenter samplers music, and the second more a classical choice, with even an astonishing a capella version of “Ohne Dich” by Rammstein. The music is no coincidence: in this movie, it becomes a character, having a deliberate presence like in Kubrick movies, 70s-80s movies like Suspiria from Dario Argento, or like in Psycho from Hitchcock (all references mentioned by the director while talking about the musical choices). In effect, in all those classic films, the presence of music is a conscious choice that upgrades the images to a next level and boosts the senses in the direction the director wants us to go.
The feature film debut of Luke Shanahan turns out to be a very interesting experience in all, beautifully shot and directed, putting him on my list of “directors to keep an eye on”. Let yourself get slowly drawn into it, and enjoy the cinematographic experience. We’ll be waiting for his next works!
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3415358
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