Those lucky enough to have seen Jane Campion’s eccentric and engaging shorts had reason to expect her first feature to be a breakthrough for the Australian cinema. But nothing prepared one for the freshness and weirdness of this 1989 black comedy about two sisters (Genevieve Lemon and Karen Colston) locked in a deadly struggle. Practically every shot is unorthodox, unexpected, and poetically right, and the swerves of the plot are simultaneously smooth, logical, and so bizarre you’ll probably wind up pondering them days later. The mad behavior of both sisters may make you squirm, and there are plenty of other things in this pictureincluding the other charactersto make you feel unbalanced, but Campion does so many beautiful, funny, and surprising things with our disquiet that you’re likely to come out of this movie seeing the world quite differently. In short, this is definitely not to be missed. With Tom Lycos, Jon Darling, Dorothy Barry, and Michael Lake. R, 97 min. (JR)

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