2012 / Director. Nadia Tass.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
See the poster? That is the same Nadia Tass who is responsible for some of Australia's most celebrated and unique films. She is the director behind titles like MALCOLM, THE BIG STEAL and RIKKI & PETE and she has always presented a unique examination of outsiders and explored characters with eccentricities. FATAL HONEYMOON is a film that exposes her vulnerabilities and sullies her reputation, which is such a shame considering that prior to this she had made a comeback (of sorts) with the wonderful MATCHING JACK. FATAL HONEYMOON is the true story of the death of American Tina Watson, who died under mysterious sircumstances on the Great Barrier Reef. Her husband, Gabe Watson was accused of her murder and the Australian police pursued him with ferocious tenacity. It was a case that made headlines around the world and the public interest reached fever pitch. It is a complex and tumultuous story too that deserves to be told on film... sadly this shamozzle does not do it any justice whatsoever. The first and most unforgiving flaw is that absolutely no attempt was made to differentiate the suburban Alabama setting from Australia. Shot entire on location in Queensland, the suburban Alabaman landscape looks identical to the backstreets of Surfer's Paradise... palm trees and all. The roof lines, the fence lines, the backyard BBQs... all fair-dinkum Aussie! The second undoing is the appalling American accents. With a predominantly Australian cast a whole lot of the yankie accents are dripping with Aussie ocker. Most frustratingly is that some of the insignificant characters NAIL the accents while most of the important key players fail stupendously. And then there's the film's lead actor, the legendary Harvey Keitel. I can only imagine that he took this role for the paid holiday. He does his best with the material but is never able to salvage what was a sinking vessel from the get go. So it is clearly a turd of a movie but here's the weird thing. I still enjoyed it. I've seen it twice (won't be returning to it again soon though) and there is something about it that kept me glued to the end. Perhaps it was the thrill of watching it crash in slow motion, or perhaps it was because there are some merits beneath the surface. I guess the film's pacing is good... and that's something. LOL. Keeping in mind that FATAL HONEYMOON was a television movie, I can forgive it a lot of it's shortcomings... but when everything is weighed up it is a very average "true story" which makes assumptions and pushes a clear agenda. If you catch it on the tube while channel surfing then definitely check it out. Otherwise don't spend money on it!