For 10 or 11 years Peter Weir lived a charmed creative life. One brilliant film after another — Picnic at Hanging Rock (’75), The Last Wave (’77), Gallipoli (’81), The Year of Living Dangerously (’82) and Witness (’85).

Then God’s light stopped shining and Weir’s perfect string ran out. Weir remained an excellent filmmaker (which he still is today) but like so many gifted directors, he became an in-and-outer.

The Mosquito Coast (’86) was his first dud, but he rebounded with Dead Poets Society (’89). Then came the appealing but insubstantial Green Card (’90) and the relentlessly downish and altogether impenetrable Fearless (’93), which only people like David Poland really loved. This was followed by The Truman Show (’98), which self-destructed with one of the worst bullshit “happy” endings ever devised.** Master and Commander (’03) was an awesome rebound but then the candle went out.

Weir’s most recent film, the underwhelming The Way Back, opened 12 years ago. What happened?

I never saw The Cars That Ate Paris (’74).

** It should have ended with Jim Carrey‘s Truman returning to the dome after having sampled the real world and deciding that life on the outside is too horrible to endure.