SIFF 2024: The New Boy (**)

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 18, 2024)

Writer-director Warwick Thornton’s drama stars Cate Blanchett as a nun in the Outback charged with schooling a young, taciturn Aboriginal orphan who may harbor supernatural powers. The story is set in the early 1940s, at a monastery where Aboriginal children are cared for until deemed old enough (16?) to get packed off to earn their own keep. The students are largely portrayed by non-professional actors, lending the film a naturalistic feel. Despite an interesting premise (Western religious dogma vs. Indigenous mysticism) the film gets bogged down by its draggy pacing and an uneven narrative that vacillates somewhere between Peter Weir’s The Last Wave and (thanks to Blanchett’s over-the-top antics) Ken Russell’s The Devils.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *