Early in Galore, Billie (Ashleigh Cummings) intones in voiceover that her life on the outskirts of Canberra is soon to be devastated by a bushfire. It’s the kind of introduction that’s there to assure its audience that this all means something. A shame, because Galore is most meaningful when it’s simply existing.
The first half of Rhys Graham’s debut fictional feature shines thanks to its languorous pointlessness. We drift lazily through teenage life: illicit pashes, house parties and too-loud throbbing music. Nothing much matters; the dialogue is mumbled to the point of inaudibility, and when Billie and her friends get into a car crash they simply extricate themselves from the wreck and wander back to the party where they’d stolen the car. There’s an authentic portrait of the inarticulate teenage years here, where consequences are inconceivable and you’re angry for reasons you don’t fully understand.
Galore isn’t content with that, though, and introduces a hefty dose of morose melodrama in its final stretch. It’s filled with unexpected deaths, infidelities, retributions and regret and, of course, the arrival of that foreshadowed, fierce bushfire. The film’s insistence distracts from its earlier, evanescent beauty in a futile attempt to amount to something more.