Sirens DVD review

Mark wonders if this early nineties curiosity is art-house or smut-house, but the odds are looking pretty long on it being a cultural experience...


Apologies in advance for the frequent mentioning of a woman’s unmentionables but reviewing Sirens without calling attention to the copious amount of breasts on display is a little like discussing the career of Bruce Willis without mentioning Die Hard, i.e. impossible. In an attempt to keep things interesting, I will use a different term for a woman’s joyful curves wherever necessary.

Upon its release, Sirens was perhaps most notable for the casting of Elle Macpherson. In her movie debut, the much lusted-after Australian actress was set to have the pulses of young adolescents racing even more as word was that she disrobed entirely several times during the movie.

The body of the one they called The Body is indeed here for all to see and very nice it is too. It’s not the only one either as Tara Fitzgerald, Portia de Rossi (perhaps most famous for her role in the oh-so-kooky comedy series Ally McBeal), and actresses Kate Fischer and Pamela Rabe also display their goodies for the camera.

If it sounds like I’m obsessing over the bare pulchritude on display, I’m really not. The problem with Sirens is that beyond its soft-core leanings there is very little plot to speak of.

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Hugh Grant plays a priest, Anthony, asked to pay controversial Australian artist Norman Lindsay a visit asking him to withdraw his blasphemous works, including one called the Crucified Venus. The paintings are so controversial primarily because they depict lots and lots of joyful, naked women, clearly not in keeping with the wishes of the church.

Grant’s repressed wife Estella, played by the frighteningly posh Fitzgerald, accompanies him on the trip and undergoes a journey of sexual awakening as Lindsay’s three models and wife show her how to have a little bit of fun. Naked fun, that is.

Asserting that Sirens is anything other than an excuse to ogle boobs is churlish as the plot is so meandering and dull that there is really no other reason to place this disc in your DVD player.

Some may tell you that it’s an art-house, intelligent tale of sexual repression and the rise of femininity. They’re lying, merely trying to excuse the fact that they got a stiffy from watching three women stroke another one all over – a truly cringeworthy scene, I might add, in which Fitzgerald looks positively awkward and the others like a giggling gaggle of lecherous young women.

Sam Neill does his best to add some acting gravitas to proceedings, necessary given the bumbling ramblings of a Hugh Grant that has not yet established his own acting chops, but he’s barely on screen enough to lift this above the realms of bad film-making. Nothing is resolved, other than the fact that Estella cheats on and is then forgiven by her partner, and when a 90-minute film feels like watching the Godfather trilogy, you know something’s not right.

The final scene is perhaps the worst of all, ignoring all of Anthony’s moral values so inherent to the plot and resulting in a footjob on a train in full view of a carriage full of passengers. Quite preposterous, but then so is the entire film.

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One to avoid. If you want to look at lots of naked women, then buy a soft-porn rag. It’s much cheaper and takes up a lot less time.

1 stars

Sirens is out now.


1 out of 5