Acute Misfortune: The Life And Death Of Adam Cullen

Acute Misfortune: The Life And Death Of Adam Cullen

The story of Adam Cullen's troubled final years to hit screens in May with a series of special events.

Cast: Daniel Henshall, Toby Wallace, Gillian Jones
Director: Thomas M. Wright
Genre: Biography
Rated: MA15+
Running Time: 90 minutes

Synopsis: Acute Misfortune will be released in selected cinemas nationally from 16 May accompanied by a series of special event Q&As. Based on the award-winning biography of Archibald Prize winner Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen, the founding editor of The Saturday Paper, the acclaimed film is a bold, layered depiction of the relationship between the biographer and his subject.

The debut feature of Thomas M. Wright (Sweet Country, Top of the Lake, Everest), is produced by Plot Media, Blackheath Film and Arenamedia, and features AACTA Best Actor winner Daniel Henshall (Snowtown) as Adam Cullen and with a breakout performance by Toby Wallace (Romper Stomper) as Jensen.

Acute Misfortune was named one of the best films of the year by The Monthly and Screen Daily and was the recipient of The Age Critics Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival. It was acclaimed by The Guardian, in a five-star review, as "The best Australian Bio-Pic since Chopper" and the Hollywood Reporter called it "One of the year's most striking and accomplished directorial debuts." The score by Evelyn Ida Morris was the only feature score to receive an ARIA nomination.

Erik Jensen was an ambitious nineteen-year-old journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald when he was commissioned to write a profile of the painter Adam Cullen, the most prominent painter of his generation, who at forty-two was the youngest ever subject of a career retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. After reading the article, Cullen invited Jensen to write his biography.

Jensen spent four years on and off with Cullen until his death at the age of 46. This is the story of their increasingly claustrophobic relationship. Cullen lied to Jensen, shot him and threw him from a motorbike. Acute Misfortune reveals an iconic artist and an acclaimed journalist in unsparing detail. It is a film about acclaim and identity; theft and the commerce of theft, the instability of lies and the consequences of a flawed contract; and about coming through an abusive relationship to find meaning in its wake.

The book, Acute Misfortune: The Life And Death Of Adam Cullen, was named among the Best of 2014 by The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sunday Mail, The New Daily and The Age. It will be re-printed to coincide with the film's release.

Director, co-writer and co-producer Thomas M. Wright comments, "Acute Misfortune is the story of a relationship. A relationship of abandon, warmth and intensity - and of control, tension and violence. It is a literary detective story, about trying to write the truth of another person."

Erik Jensen says of the film: "Watching as this book become a film has been one of the great privileges of my career. I started writing this story when I was 19, staying in Adam's spare room on the promise of a book contract. I stayed because Adam fascinated me. Writing the screenplay with Thomas M. Wright was just as illuminating, in some ways, as those years spent interviewing Adam."

For screening and event information visit

Acute Misfortune
Release Date: May 16th, 2019