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‘Dirt Music’ review: Gorgeous romantic thriller focuses on setting

A romantic drama that wants to be judged for its looks.

Dirt Music is a 2019 adaptation of a book about two lonely people who find each other. The plot follows Lu Fox (Garrett Hedlund) and Georgie Jutland (Kelly Macdonald). When Lu is caught poaching, he heads to an isolated northern island and Georgie follows him. The movie spends more time focused on where things are happening than who they are happening to for better and for worse.

The characters are straight out of any romantic drama. Georgie is from the big city. She lives with her boyfriend, who is the powerful fisherman of a small town. The audience quickly learns the rest of the town see Georgie as an outsider. Lu is the gruff loner who is mysterious and filled with sadness. He poaches lobsters and has a dog he has chosen not to name. Tormented by the past, he is the type of person an underappreciated woman is bound to fall in love with.

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Dirt Music is not so much familiar as it is vague. Lu and Georgie finding each other makes the most sense. They are two people trying to sort out their lives. (Though they fall out of lust and into love incredibly quickly.) The rest of the movie seems underdeveloped. This stands out in a scene when Georgie visits her wealthy family. They are barely mentioned during the rest of Dirt Music. The entire encounter does not match the tone of the rest of the movie and feels out of place.

Jim also seems surprisingly accepting of his girlfriend’s decision to sleep with someone else. While it is clear he still pines for his deceased wife, he seems to want Georgie in his life also. He is incredibly upset when he first learns she has found someone else. It does not last long and Georige learns Jim has made some odd decisions regarding Lu.

The setting is stunning. Director Gregor Jordan constantly showcases the western Australian terrain. From beautiful overhead shots of the ocean to magnificent footage of the landscape. Dirt Music constantly impresses. Few movies this year will look better. It makes for an eye-catching movie. The set pieces show off its locations in a way rarely seen. The plot is too shallow to stand out though fans of romantic dramas should enjoy the story.

Dirt Music debuts on VOD July 17

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