My favorite Sundance genre? The musical. Yes, they're few and far between. But I go out of my way to support anyone who tries to tackle a musical on an indie scale. That's why I made sure to see Bran Nue Dae. This Australian import is based on a stage musical created in the early 1990s.
While many Sundance musicals dazzled (remember Camp?), Bran Nue Dae was just OK. Frequently the acting fell flat. And the story didn't hold together very well. I wish I could see the original stage version to see if the story was more cohesive.
Bran Nue Dae is at its best (as are most musicals) when it's singing and dancing. The sequences in the roadhouse bar steam up the screen with sensuality and fun. And Willie (Rocky McKenzie), the young lead, is completely awkward in his musical performances, yet somewhow it works perfectly.
I also have to say a note about the animated opening credits which are billiant.
I'll be surprised if Bran Nue Dae makes it theaters in the U.S. And if it does, I'm not sure I'd make the effort to see it in a theater. But it would be worth adding it to your Netflix list.