Thanks to Andrew for bringing this item to my attention, even if it is a bit of a tease. To coincide with an upcoming 15th Anniversary Blu-Ray release of Heavenly Creatures, small British distributor Peccadillo Pictures is going to give it a limited theatrical re-release. Peter Jackson’s Oscar nominated departure from splatter comedies (Braindead, Bad Taste, Meet The Feebles) is likely the main reason (along with The Frighteners) why New Line Cinema gave him the massive, in budget and scope, Lord of the Rings project (after the Kiwi director campaigned for actively.) Of course, it being Kate Winslet’s film debut is also of interest to many fans and admirers of her work over the past decade and a half. The fact that she is an excellent and nuanced performer right out of the gate should come as no surprise. Here she plays one of two girls accused and convicted of patricide. Melanie Lynskey (Up in the Air, The Informant!) has the role of narrator Pauline Parker, from whose diary the film is adapted. The girls obsessive relationship around literature and popular culture in 1950s New Zealand is compelling stuff when combined with Jackson’s flair for whimsical (and gritty) visuals.
Considering the similarly themed (and titled) The Lovely Bones which ended up more or less a popular and critical failure, it is safe to call Heavenly Creatures his best written film, but despite it being more of a drama, it doesn’t eschew his penchant for high-fantasy and big special effects, only they are used much more sparingly here. Coupled with some nice film and musical hommages, this makes for great viewing on the big screen, so you folks across the pond should head out to your cinema on September 12th if it is playing in your neighborhood. We’ll overlook the math on this announcement, considering the film original came out in 1994, perhaps it took it an additional two years to get to the UK while Miramax (at their peak in terms of indie prestige) in the US jumped on it pretty fast.
On a side note, this film seems to be plagued with poor and half-assed DVD releases, I know my early Miramax release is possibly the worst looking film I have in my collection (inexcusable for such a handsomely shot picture) and while it has been out in Canada on Blu Ray for some time, apparently that release is pretty bare bones and in the wrong aspect ratio to boot. We will see if Peccadillo’s eventual release is done with as much TLC as them giving the film a theatrical repertory release.