LITTLE FISH (Rowan Woods). 114 minutes. Opens Friday (February 24). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If you get nothing else from this strangely sweet and comic drama about a reformed drug addict ( Cate Blanchett , great as always) trying to create a new life for herself, you have to appreciate the colourful casting.
Sam Neill plays an aging homosexual Lothario gangster and one-time famous jockey. Martin Henderson - last seen mauled by Britney Spears and in the "toxic" Torque - plays Blanchett's amputee stoner brother Ray, and Hugo Weaving leaves both Eldrond and his Matrix super-being far behind to play Lionel, a gay ex-soccer star and rampant heroin user.
Add Aussie TV star Noni Hazlehurst as a world-weary mom and the triumphant return of 21 Jump Street's Dustin Nguyen (as Blanchett's troubled ex) and you've got the best ensemble since Pulp Fiction.
The movie introduces us to a conflicted heroine we can root for without the typical filmmaking ploy of the tiny perfect redemption, shows us the real "under" Down Under (the little Saigon district), dares to be silly even as the characters' lives crash around them and almost seamlessly weaves love story/crime caper/salvation tale, making Little Fish , by feature film newcomers (screenwriter Jacqueline Perske and director Rowan Wood ), well worth catching.