Until now Boylan has not appeared much in the spotlight, with roles in Wild Boys, A Place to Call Home and ABC’s Cliffy telemovie. In the latter she was forced to wear a terrible wig as the young girlfriend of Cliff Young, but managed to put in an honest performance.
There was nowhere to hide in Schapelle, charged with fulfilling a role we have watched for a decade through the television news. Scenes of her crying and breathing heavily in an Indonesian courtroom are burnt into our brains. Director Khoa Do, ably assisted by production designers, pulled off some remarkable recreations.
But while the storyline was too vague in some areas, and felt heavily weighted by screenwriter speculation, Boylan shone as the title-star. We saw a young woman in the eye of a legal storm with emotional scenes handled with confidence by Boylan.
When it wasn’t busy making the most of its bogans, the arc of the telemovie was more perplexing, having spent most of its time portraying her in a sympathetic, non-guilty light, then making a sudden U-turn at the eleventh hour. This raised more questions than it answered, and fell short of Nine promos promising we would finally learn ‘the truth.’ To hint at guilty suggestions without fully exploring them was, frankly, a bit of a cheat.
Sudden timeslot changes notwithstanding, Nine’s impeccable timing on the scheduling of the telemovie will go down as one of the year’s masterstrokes. Just how did they know it would all reach a crescendo this weekend? Timing is everything in TV programming.
Whether it pays off in the ratings is the real question, and execs around the country will be glued to their inboxes at 9am this morning.