Blaze (2022)

Blaze (Julia Savage) is a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her father, Luke (Simon Baker), in Australia. One afternoon after school, Blaze takes a different route home which has life-changing consequences as she witnesses a tragic abuse situation (Josh Lawson) and (Yael Stone). During the horrific event, Blaze freezes up and is unable to assist. She returns home to her father, who understands something horrible has occurred.

Now Blaze must not only work with the police to bring justice for the crime she witnessed but also deal with her various emotions, including fear and anger. As she uses her imagination, viewers will go on a whole new cinematic journey, and we will enter the mind and world of Blaze. This world is loaded with stunning visuals, artwork, and a dark look at dealing with trauma.

Blaze-Main-1

While some parents may consider this as a family/children’s film, I’m here to provide a stern warning; it isn’t. For those who are not aware, Blaze is a heavy drama. Even as a grown adult, I was taken on an unexpected journey with hopes that Blaze, at some point, may improve or find some form of peace in her life ahead.

As a directional debut from Del Kathryn Barton, some impressive and stunning work is on display here. Fun fact- the director is a talented artist, and all her giftings and passion for art shine through this film. Audiences will have their jaws dropping at various moments due to the extreme level of creativity as we witness all things in Blaze’s mind, including a friendly dragon that lives in her room. Moments of drama are captured wonderfully, and some moments here made me feel uncomfortable or want to tense up in my seat. Other moments had me feeling in awe as I watched something unlike anything I had seen in Australian cinema before. In a nutshell, Blaze is an amazing ride that will elicit various emotions from viewers.

The performance of Julia Savage as Blaze is incredible and unforgettable. I can only imagine what a challenge it would have been for the young actress to take on a character going through significant trauma and a major life-changing event. The actress is highly convincing, and the lines of dialogue are spoken with true strength and realistic reactions on-screen. The side performance from Josh Lawson (somewhat brief) is quite surprising and enjoyable compared to some of the actor’s other films. Simon Baker is again great, but I couldn’t help but question some of the character choices as a parent, which did seem a bit of a stretch for my acceptance. The film’s pacing, for the most part, is great, with only the second act dragging on a little longer than I preferred. There’s a moment in the film where I felt as a viewer we had stayed in the same spot a little longer than preferred, and it was time for the film to take its next big step. Thankfully with a touching and surprising finale, I was left feeling thankful and honoured to witness such a heartfelt film.

Overall, highly imaginative and packed with stunning creativity, Blaze is a powerful and gripping film that takes its audiences on a journey of overcoming trauma. Visually, this film brings something Australian cinemas haven’t seen before, and the entire plot and concept feels welcoming and leaves an unforgettable experience. The leading performance from Julia Savage is impressive, and the young actress delivers a stunning and highly convincing performance on-screen. Everything here feels fresh and new, with only a few minor issues relating to pacing or side character choices. As a directional debut from Del Kathryn Barton, I am proud to say this film made me feel thankful and honoured for witnessing the journey and all its greatness. Blaze is an impressive and mind-blowing film for Australian cinema, and I cannot wait to see what’s to come from the director’s next film project.

7.9/10

Rating: 4 out of 5.

21st August 2022
Written by Peter Walkden

WALKDEN ENTERTAINMENT

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The Nun II (2023)

The Conjurverse expands yet again with "The Nun II," inviting audiences to another haunting cinematic experience. Serving as the ninth entry in a seemingly endless line of Conjuring tales, one might wonder if the scare well is running dry. Ah, who am I kidding? Keep...

Last Film Show (2021)

Set in India, we follow a young nine-year-old boy named Samay (Bhavin Rabari) who lives with his family. One day, his father decides to take the family to the movies. Samay questions the decision, claiming that his father doesn't even like movies. It’s been five years...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)

Set in New York City, we follow the four well-known and popular Ninja Turtles. This time, things are very different. Here, we get to learn how the turtles became mutants skilled with ninja abilities thanks to their father, Master Splinter (voiced by Jackie Chan). In...

Theater Camp (2023)

Joan (Amy Sedaris) is a much-loved theatre camp founder and creator. However, this year’s upcoming theatre camp is suddenly at risk when Joan falls into a coma during a performance. Thankfully, Joan's son, Troy (Jimmy Tatro), is determined to keep everything going....

Past Lives (2023)

The film opens with three people sitting at a bar. We hear a voiceover and strangers questioning their status- who's dating who, and what kind of discussions are being had among them? One thing is sure: their relationship is awkward, emotional, and dramatic. After...

Outpost (2022)

After being involved in a horrifying and brutal violent attack, Kate (Beth Dover) struggles to move forward with her life. The medication she's been provided isn't helping, and she continues to struggle in areas of concentration and fails to maintain any form of...

Haunted Mansion (2023)

Well, ghostly gals and guys, saddle up because the Haunted Mansion has swung open its creaky doors on the big screen for a spirited rendezvous! Now, I won't say it was the full-blown Disney Afternoon Special I was looking for, but it certainly has its eerie...

Interview: Brian Vining / The Last Video Store (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Brian Vining, director, writer and executive producer of The Last Video Store (2023), which is Now Available on major streaming platforms in Australia on Apple TV and Tubi and in...

Sound of Freedom (2023)

Tim (Jim Caviezel) is a government agent tasked with tracking and arresting paedophiles. Naturally, his daily work isn't the easiest as he is often required to watch disturbing video footage and occasionally go undercover to make an arrest with proper...

Four Rooms (1995)

Ted (Tim Roth) is a new Bellhop working in a luxurious hotel. His first shift is on one of the year’s biggest nights: New Year’s Eve. In the opening scene, we see Ted in his uniform and full of enthusiasm as he is given words of advice from the previous Bellhop, who...

Save the Tiger (1973)

Harry (Jack Lemmon) wakes up in bed from what seems to be a nasty dream. He pours water on his face and conducts his daily routine, having a shower and sharing chit-chat with his wife. During this conversation, we learn that Harry is stressed out. While Harry feels he...

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

Time has passed since we last saw John (Keanu Reeves), and he is living secretly underground with the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). John continues to train his body and contemplate his next move against The High Table. At the same time, we learn that Winston (Ian...

Strays (2023)

Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a sweet, tiny, cuddly dog. Sadly, Reggie's owner, Doug (Will Forte), hates him passionately and often blames him for his failures in life. No matter how hard Doug tries to get rid of Reggie, Reggie always finds a way back home, not...

The Bounty (1984)

The film opens with Lieutenant Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) dressed in uniform and entering a court hearing. As part of his trial, the Lieutenant shares his recent experience as the captain of a large ship called ‘The Bounty’. Lieutenant Bligh’s comments reveal that he was...

The Haunting of Julia / Full Circle (1977)

Julia (Mia Farrow) wakes up one morning to have breakfast with her husband and only daughter, Katie. While eating, Katie begins to choke on her food, and Julia and her husband attempt to prevent her from choking. Sadly they are unsuccessful, and Katie dies on the...

Dracula: Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

Soldiers in London discover a large ship that has crashed onto the shore. Upon investigation, the ship seems to be known as The Demeter, and a journal that belonged to the ship's captain is recovered. Within a few pages of the journal, the soldiers discover warnings...

Everybody Loves Jeanne (2022)

Jeanne’s research project, Nausicaa, was designed to remove microplastics and other waste from the ocean, making the world a better place. She consistently wrestles with her inner voice, which speaks to her, suggesting she would be better off just walking in front of...

Subject (2022)

The film begins with a view of a computer screen. The person in control of the computer screen is unknown, but it is evident that the mysterious viewer is accessing confidential footage from an event in 2019. As the video playback begins, viewers also get to watch...

The Flood (2023)

A hurricane is ravaging Louisiana with wild storms, rain, and flooding. People within the community are advised to leave the area as best as possible; however, we soon see firsthand that escaping or trying to stay dry and remain safe is not easy. We witness a...

Ginger Snaps (2000)

When a little boy playing in his sandbox discovers some blood, it isn’t long until he and his mother find a dog paw in the sand. From here, we are introduced to two sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigette (Emily Perkins). The sisters hear of their...

Armageddon Time (2022)

Set in the 1980s in Flushing, Queens, we are introduced to Paul (Banks Repeta), who is in the 6th grade at a Public School. We see Paul's classroom, his fellow peers and a teacher filled with frustration trying to get a well-focused classroom. Paul enjoys being...

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

When a documentary filmmaker discovers he's not alone in his rented house, he decides to film and interview his findings. Sharing the house with the filmmaker is an adorable little shell named Marcel.  He has a cute, shy personality and wears shoes. Marcel...

Old Man (2022)

The film opens with an Old Man (Stephen Lang) waking up from having a bad dream. Upon waking, he calls for Rascal (possibly a dog) and walks around a cabin, continuing to look for him. His search is interrupted by a loud knock at the front door, and the Old Man...

Barbie (2023)

Welcome to Barbie Land- a place where everything is incredible, colourful and 100% perfect in every way. In Barbie Land, there is every kind of Barbie and Ken that has ever been created and other Barbie-like dolls that sadly never became a massive success, like Ken’s...

Quicksand (2023)

Quicksand begins with a panicked man fearfully running around a forest armed with a shotgun. Joining him is another mysterious man, perhaps his partner in crime. The two have been attempting to steal snake skins worth a significant amount of money, more valuable than...

Carmen (2022)

Carmen (Melissa Barrera) is a young woman forced to flee home. Her reasons for fleeing the Mexican desert are somewhat mysterious, and all we know is that she is being hunted by a pair of men who will destroy and kill anyone in their way. We also meet Aiden (Paul...