Utterly Ridiculous
Price of Milk
Review by Ross Anthony

Director Sinclair states, "So this film is my dream about New Zealand, this make-believe country that seems almost empty of people, where love stories are played out in silence and loneliness, where white farmers make deals with indigenous Maori people, where the land is like a vast quilt of fields, where life seems perfect but we find ways to make ourselves unhappy ... But like a dream, I wanted this film to have no obvious message, more of an invocation of symbols. And mostly it's about love, and what it's worth."

The film begins with a young farming couple pulling a quilt back and forth while they sleep, the credits are sown in. The dramatic "Fantasia"-esque music plays as awkwardly over this picture as a cowbell hung from a kangaroo.

She loves him, he loves her, but doesn't want kids. Perhaps the kid issue prompts her to feel that the fire has slipped from the relationship (though the film seems to depict just the opposite). In search of sparking the flame, she pisses him off completely and spends the rest of the film sorting that out. Not a very interesting story, but it's told beautifully, haphazardly, magically, impossibly.

Planted like seeds in the earth, surrealisms sprout: Two lovers taking a bath in a tub in a field, they finish dinner in the tub, then wash the dishes in their own bath water. Their dog, afraid of daylight, romps the fields in an appliance box.

Other scenes I enjoyed: Singing by the fire, house moving as she "chases" him from the window. The picture is well paced, from the standpoint of intensity and comic relief placement. However, it's still a film that can be reduced to three crazy women conspiring to drive one nice guy crazy. And though Sinclair acknowledges the film has no point, I certainly felt one would have been nice.

Fine performance by Karl Urban.

  • Price of Milk. Copyright © 2001.
  • Starring Danielle Cormack, Karl Urban, Willa O'Neil, Michael Lawrence, Rangi Motu. Written and directed by Harry Sinclair. Produced by Fiona Copland at Lot 47 Films (C)2001. Rated PG-13.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:00:42 PDT