6.3/10
412
9 user 12 critic

In a Savage Land (1999)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 21 October 1999 (Australia)
Two married anthropologists go to an island off of Papua New Guinea for field research.

Director:

Bill Bennett

Writers:

Bill Bennett, Jennifer Cluff (as Jennifer Bennett)
Reviews
7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story is set in late 19th century rural corner of South England. The daughter of timber merchant Melbury, Grace, returns to the town after finishing school. Her father now believes she ... See full summary »

Director: Phil Agland
Stars: Emily Woof, Rufus Sewell, Cal MacAninch
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Ross, a self-absorbed and determined young man, plans to sell off his family's priceless wine collection to finance his purchase of a substantial mining interest which promises to make him ... See full summary »

Director: John Huddles
Stars: Minnie Driver, Nigel Hawthorne, Rufus Sewell
The Sea (2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The story of a man who returns to the sea where he spent his childhood summers in search of peace following the death of his wife.

Director: Stephen Brown
Stars: Ciarán Hinds, Sinéad Cusack, Joe Gallagher
Illuminata (1998)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

It's the start of the 20th century, and Tuccio, resident playwright of a theatre repertory company offers the owners of the company his new play, "Illuminata". They reject it, saying it's ... See full summary »

Director: John Turturro
Stars: Leo Bassi, Henri Behar, Maurizio Benazzo
Carrington (1995)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The platonic relationship between artist Dora Carrington and writer Lytton Strachey in the early 20th century.

Director: Christopher Hampton
Stars: Emma Thompson, Jonathan Pryce, Steven Waddington
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The lives of three life-long friends are thrown into chaos by the arrival of Martha, a beautiful young American woman who arrives in London looking to find herself. Joseph Fiennes and ... See full summary »

Director: Nick Hamm
Stars: Joseph Fiennes, Monica Potter, Rufus Sewell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Alfie Byrne is a middle-aged bus conductor in Dublin in 1963. He would appear to live a life of quiet desperation: he's gay, but firmly closeted, and his sister is always trying to find him... See full summary »

Director: Suri Krishnamma
Stars: Albert Finney, Brenda Fricker, Michael Gambon
Vinyan (2008)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A couple are looking for their child who was lost in the tsunami - their search takes them to the dangerous Thai-Burmese waters, and then into the jungle, where they face unknown but horrifying dangers.

Director: Fabrice du Welz
Stars: Emmanuelle Béart, Rufus Sewell, Petch Osathanugrah
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A thief is caught up in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse between a maverick cop and London crime boss.

Director: George Isaac
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Rufus Sewell, Toby Stephens
Kiss or Kill (1997)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After a robbery scam that goes bad, lovers Nikki and Al take off into the Australian outback, pursued by the police and a malevolent footballer named Zipper Doyle, and meet a number of offbeat characters.

Director: Bill Bennett
Stars: Matt Day, Frances O'Connor, Tiffany Peters
Victory (1996)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Axel Heyst lives on a secluded island near the Dutch East Indies port of Surabaya. The year is 1913. While on personal business to the port, he visits the hotel owned by racist German ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Peploe
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Irène Jacob
Twenty-One (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Katie is a free spirited independently minded 21-year-old. The film follows her as she reflects on the men in her life. Along the way we meet her drug addict boyfriend Bobby, her lover Jack, close friend Baldy, and her father.

Director: Don Boyd
Stars: Patsy Kensit, Jack Shepherd, Patrick Ryecart
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Rufus Sewell ... Mick Carpenter
Martin Donovan ... Dr. Phillip Spence
Maya Stange ... Evelyn Spence
Max Cullen ... Douglas Stevens
John Howard ... Rev Macgregor
Andrew S. Gilbert Andrew S. Gilbert ... Gerry
Marshall Napier ... Sir Geoffrey Hallerton
Susan Lyons Susan Lyons ... Helen Stevens
Don Barker Don Barker ... Barman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Steve Syson ... Party Patron
Edit

Storyline

Two anthropologists married to each other go to an island off of Papua New Guinea for field research in pre-World War II. Eventually the war breaks out and many lives are disrupted and complicated. Written by Ken Papai

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the tradition of Out of Africa. See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Beyond Films [Australia]

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1999 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Az egzotikus sziget See more »

Filming Locations:

Alotau, Papua New Guinea See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Producers and co-screenwriters Bill Bennett and Jennifer Bennett knew a film crew wouldn't put up with such poor accommodation conditions for the long period of the shoot, so they organised for a cruise ship to sail from the Great Barrier Reef, and this became their home for most of the film's cast and crew during principal photography in PNG (Papua New Guinea) and the Trobriands (aka the Trobriand Islands). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Evelyn Spence: I once met a man, not my husband, another man. He looked back on a life. What would you carry into the darkness? For me, I'll take the smell of a pearl shell, freshly opened, one day on a beach.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In a Savage Land: Cast and Crew Interviews (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Visually stunning, but ultimately slow and disappointing.
10 December 1999 | by SkevSee all my reviews

If you have an interest in the scenery of the Pacific islands, then by all means see this film - there are some wonderful wide-screen images of the islands and their people to be had. Hats off to the crew (the director and camera crew in particular) who worked in tough, often muddy, conditions.

But if you are after an engaging and entertaining story involving characters you can identify with or against, then you're in for a let down. Put simply, "In A Savage Land" drags.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a film with a relaxed pace - not every movie has to be chop-chop, bang-bang. But this film just takes too long to say what it has to say. Even at the Brisbane premiere (the director/co-writer's home town), with an apparently friendly audience, I could hear people fidgeting during some scenes. I don't think it was just the serious subject matter to blame. Many scenes just move too slowly for no apparent reason. Modern audiences don't respond to this.

There is also the problem of the somewhat shallow depictions of the central characters. We never really seem to get to know the central couple, and this was meant to be (I assume) a character piece. Maya Stange's changes in attitude and appearance are just too much to believe, and it was difficult to fathom her motivations. Her husband's views on how to conduct his research and his marriage go past blinkered or even prejudiced, they appear just plain foolish.

The islander characters are even more closed off to the audience, with the unscrupulous traders providing the only real (if limited) insight into their islander ways.

The most obvious place to lay the blame for why the film doesn't work is the script. It seems underdeveloped, though I believe there was much work done in the edit suite during post-production, so it's hard to know what the original script looked like.

All the actors seem to give credible performances, and moments where the performances seem less than impressive seem to be the fault of the script, not the actors. But it's so hard to say, looking in from the outside.

All in all a disappointing film from a very talented writer/director. "In A Savage Land" had a short run in Australian theatres, which is all the more upsetting when you realise it was one of the more expensive Australian films made for several years (around ten million dollars according to the director).


2 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed