For a film backed mostly by Nikon Australia there’s never a moment in Love is Now when you feel like the mega-brand is intruding on the film’s artistic integrity and getting in the way of its bold narrative. Thankfully any shameless product placement amounts to around thirty seconds – an average TV commercial – throughout the entire film.
Considering the current state of the Australian film industry, you have to admire the film’s makers for bringing a major partner in Nikon on board to help promote, market and distribute their film. We all know the industry needs some assistance and education in this area.
Hopefully audiences – or at least those aware of it – are just as willing as Cinema Australia are to put the very minor commercialism of Love is Now behind them and enjoy one of the best Australian films of the year.
At an opening-night exhibition, Dean (Eamon Farren), a cheeky, aspiring photographer, meets Audrey (Claire van der Boom). The two are instantly attracted to each other and launch themselves into a wild love affair. They run around Sydney like a couple of teenagers, madly in love. Their romance is so juvenile Dean even waits by the phone almost beside himself because Audrey hasn’t called him for two days.
This kind of love story might be enough to make some people reach for a bucket but once the two embark on a spontaneous bike riding adventure following the New South Whales Harvest Trail the film begins to tease an underlying darkness. Cracks appear quickly in each of the protagonists and you’re constantly left guessing who will shatter first.
Jim Lounsbury’s feature film debut has an intoxicating beauty, from its stunning landscapes, captured beautifully by cinematographer Anthony Jennings, to its incredibly well-manicured cast. Lounsbury’s obsession with keeping things so clean-cut is distracting at times – the supporting cast of fruit pickers are way too glamorous – but it is a romantic drama after all.
The chemistry between the two leads is electrifying. Eamon Farren’s performance is superb. He has a strange handsomeness about him which suits his slightly damaged Dean perfectly. We’re given small glimpses into his past but there are some things about him that are left frustratingly unexplained. As always, Claire van der Boom is flawless. Her natural, hypnotic beauty is perfect for the provocative Audrey.
Without giving anything away Lounsbury ends his film with a jaw-dropping twist that’s out of the blue and especially cleaver. It’s a conclusive twist that may not generate as much conversation as something like The Babadook but one that’ll stay with you for just as long.
Love is Now: 4/5
Directed by: Jim Lounsbury
Starring: Eamon Farren, Claire van der Boom
Review by: Matthew Eeles