Newest Reviews
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
  Boy Called Sailboat, A Guitar hero
Year: 2018
Director: Cameron Nugent
Stars: Julian Atocani Sanchez, J.K. Simmons, Jake Busey, Noel Gugliemi, Lew Temple, Elizabeth De Razzo, Keanu Wilson, Zeyah Pearson, Addison Pearson, Rusalia Benavidez
Genre: Comedy, Weirdo, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: One day Sailboat (Julian Atocani Sanchez), a preternaturally gifted little Hispanic boy who lives in a rickety old desert shack literally propped up by a plank of wood, discovers a ukelele (or as he calls it: "little guitar") abandoned on a junk pile. Encouraged by his bald, tattooed, imposing but loving father (Noel Gugliemi) and kindly, soft-spoken, spicy meatball-obsessed mother (Elizabeth De Razzo) he rapidly develops a miraculous musical talent. When his "abuela" (grandmother) falls seriously ill Sailboat sets out to compose a song so beautiful it will restore her health. His song proves so potent it has a remarkable effect upon everyone he meets along a life-altering journey.

This bemusing but likable, whimsical fable marks the feature directorial debut of seasoned Australian actor Cameron Nugent. A staple of Aussie TV fare from Round the Twist to Blue Heelers (many of which also aired on British shores), Nugent here crafts something that on the surface almost skews close to a live-action Coco (2017). Nugent's self-consciously quirky filmmaking style also shares a poised artifice and stylized acting in common with the works of Wes Anderson with a dose of Jared Hess thrown in there. Yet one could also argue the film's style, tone and thematic preoccupations reflect the same beguiling, low-key, pastel-hued magical realism found in classic Mexican literature. Despite touching on race and social inequity in the American Midwest, A Boy Called Sailboat spins a tall tale more interested in poetry than social realism.

The plot interweaves two themes: music as a means of unlocking miracles and obsession. Almost every character in the film is obsessed with something. Whether it is Sailboat with honing his guitar skills to revive his abuela, his doting dad's obsession with painting horse murals all over their shack, his mother forever cooking delicious spicy meatballs, or his football-mad best friend Peeti (Keanu Wilson) who doesn’t let eye problems hinder his soccer dreams. Sailboat’s music breathes hope back into this quirky close-knit community as one by one everyone from his eccentric schoolteacher (a winningly weird Jake Busey) to a travelling car salesman (J.K. Simmons, providing the special guest star turn but with little impact on the actual plot) are awakened to his near-supernatural gifts.

Strangely the film never tries to sell viewers on Sailboat being a gifted musician. Whenever he plays Nugent cuts the audio to white noise, leaving viewers to judge by the other characters' stunned reactions that his talent is remarkable. In fact as child heroes go Sailboat emerges something of a blank slate. As played by solemn-faced youngster Julian Atocani Sanchez he is an appealing presence yet strangely devoid of personality. Similarly for a feel-good fable the film is strangely ambivalent about Sailboat and his family's interaction with the community. Their reaction to the fairly benign attention drawn to the boy’s prodigious talent is muted at best.

More interested in observing an assortment of oddballs than weaving a narrative, the story gets a little aimless and at times too twee. Yet Nugent's script counterbalances its whimsy with a winningly wry sense of humour. Indeed for an ostensible family film the gags are deliciously dry and subtly grownup.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 158 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: