Plush may well be less than inspired, but the gorgeous Emily Browning, saves the day...
Director Catherine Hardwicke, is certainly no stranger to strong leading ladies, and diminutive Emily Browning's performance, made this film all the better, as she played rock-goddess, and front-woman Hayley, in the band Plush. Hardwicke already had a lot to live up to, with two highly successful films already behind her. Twilight and Thirteen are definitely a hard act to follow, but Hardwicke managed to put together a film that will undoubtedly be popular among the age-demographic to which Plush is aimed. Red Riding Hood had the stunning Amanda Seyfried, Twilight had the capable Kristen Stewart (and a billion dollar franchise), the critically acclaimed Thirteen saw, not one, but two starlets shine, Nikki Reed and Evan Rachel Wood, and now Emily Browning fronts Plush.
What attracted me to this movie in the first place was the cast, and being a fan of rock-music didn't hurt either, but the psycho-killer (no pun intended) angle also had me sold, so it would be fair to say I really wanted to see this film. I've been a huge fan of Miss Browning since seeing her in The Uninvited, and thrilled 2 years later by her performance in Sucker Punch (although, I admit to loving her attire and sexy-as-hell pout in Zack Snyder's creation, more than anything else). I even forced myself to sit through the woeful Magic Magic to admire the actress. Here, at least, there is a pay-off. Browning handled her Hayley character with relative ease, and was also expectedly very convincing. She can display emotion well, and goes through a wide gamut of feelings throughout this production.
Another very good actor, and also, like Browning, an Aussie, Xavier Samuel, who I first caught in the brilliant horror The Loved Ones (if you like horror, then this is a must-see). He also co-starred in Adore, where he played a young man who falls in love with his best friends mother. He plays the unstable Enzo, a guitarist who replaces Hayley's dead brother Jack, after Jack dies of a drug overdose. Samuel is a strong actor, who managed the offbeat character well, and also convincingly, even when others would have been tempted to go in heavier with Enzo's scenes.
Cam Gigandet is always a decent actor, but I've yet to see him lead in a film. I'd have to say the best I've seen from Gigandet, was when he played Micah in the brilliant comedy Easy A, which, coincidentally, starred another strong and stunning actress, Emma Stone. The acting is good in Plush, as is the direction. My only issue is with some of the writing, and the fact that it had a bit of a slow middle act. The finish was good, and rather exciting, with some creative killing that reminded me of something I read once about Japanese held POW's.
Plush is about a young woman and her brother, who are in a band. they are a tight team, but the brother semi-mysteriously dies after being given a shot of heroin. After a period of mourning, Hayley begins to sing again, and to replace Jack, her manager hires Enzo to play guitar in Jack's place. The fans don't like the new material, but Enzo adds flair to the music, but now he and the married-with-twins Hayley have an on-the-road fling. Enzo starts to get too involved in Hayley's home life, by turning up at her door, playing with the kids, and even jamming with her writer husband Carter. Hayley then makes the mistake of trying to stop the affair.
Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer
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