Adam Cullen biopic, Acute Misfortune, wins rave reviews after Melbourne International Film Festival world premiere

The biopic of Wentworth Falls artist, Adam Cullen, has garnered rave reviews following its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Filmed in the Blue Mountains in late 2017 and early 2018, Acute Misfortune was described by Guardian critic Luke Buckmaster as “the best and most interesting Australian biopic since Chopper in 2000”.

In a five-star review, he described the film as a “drama [that] ebbs and flows with a kind of haunting poeticism”.

“... Acute Misfortune works on several levels – including a rumination on a famous eccentric that peels away the gloss of legend.”

Writing for The Age, Craig Mathieson said Acute Misfortune was “a startling, unique vision of the final years in the life of controversial visual artist Adam Cullen”.

“The film aggressively dispenses with the framing scenes that set up a conventional biopic, instead invoking the off-kilter world Cullen draws the ambitious, accepting Jensen into. Cullen's artworks, brushes and even clothes are used, yet information about the commercial art world is communicated through telling tableaus.”


Corey Wratten for Janks Reviews said “debut director and writer Thomas M. Wright frames the chaotic nature of Cullen’s mania brilliantly”. “So if you are wanting an honest portrayal of a traumatic artist that will leave you questioning whether to laugh, cry or gasp, please see Acute Misfortune.”

Movie fans on twitter also singled out the film’s score by Evelyn Morris for praise.

Acute Misfortune had its world premiere screening on August 4. 

The film stars Daniel Henshall (Snowtown, The Babadook, The Beautiful Lie) as the Archibald Prize-winning artist Cullen and is the feature film directorial debut of actor Thomas M. Wright (Balibo,Top of the Lake). Wright co-scripted the film with journalist Erik Jensen, based on Jensen’s own non-fiction work, Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen.