- rated - HOT! HOT! HOT!
Why couldn't this have been the film that opened the Sydney Film
Festival? It is a terrific little film, visually inventive, and has
uniformly excellent performances. It is demanding, unflinching and it
has an important story to tell. And it fits in beautifully with the
theme I nominated for the festival this year - Families Under Pressure.
For a film of a stage play which takes place almost entirely in a few
rooms in one small house, it never looks static. The director is
constantly moving the character, throwing us off balance, and observing
his characters from every possible angle - including from the light
fittings and power-points. I loved this aspect of the film - the
"light-fitting cam." We sit up with the camera among the dust of the
chintzy lights in the ceiling and feel the increasing charge of static
electricity as the characters rub up against each other.
This is intelligent filmmaking for an intelligent audience. The
director - another first-time director, Rown Woods - and the
screenwriter, the very experieced Stephen Sewell, tell the story
through flash-forwards which jump further ahead each time. They tell an
intriguing tale about violence, but this is yet another film which
doesn't actually show us the violent act. In fact, it almost "cheats"
us of it... which is a very disturbing thought in and of itself.
This film tells us more about ourselves than we probably care to know,
but we need to know it. John Polson is good as middle brother Glenn -
particularly in his drunk scenes (although he tends to drift out of
character sometimes. David Wenham is excellent as Brett Sprague, the
eldest brother - and chilling. But for me, the standout actors are Toni
Colette as Brett's girlfriend Michelle, his equal in every way, and
Anthony Hayes, who plays the third brother, Stevie. Now these people
Forget the comedies - it is these slice-of-life dramas which are
defining the future of Australian film, as we speak. See it, before it
goes to oblivion.