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Australia 1981
Directed by
Donald Crombie
95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

The Killing Of Angel Street

Donald Crombie’s film is of the type usually given the back-handed compliment of being “well-intentioned”. Based on the infamous 1975 disappearance of Sydney-based anti-development activist, Juanita Neilson, an event directly referred to in the film, Elizabeth Alexander plays Jessica Simmonds, a geologist who returns from overseas to find that her father (Alexander Archdale) is one of the leaders of a citizens’ group trying to stop rapacious developers from erecting high rise apartments on the Balmain foreshore. When he dies under suspicious circumstance she teams up with trade unionist Elliot (John Hargreaves in a role that recalls the real life union boss, Jack Mundey) to continue the fight which leads her to realize how corrupt the system really is.

The difficulty with these kinds of politically tendentious films is how to make them convincing dramatically. Sadly Michael Craig and his fellow scriptwriters and director Crombie do not manage to achieve this with what is an evidently limited budget. The result is an earnest story of good-hearted ordinary people fighting Mammon’s henchmen complete with two-dimensional characters, a predictable plot and Brian May’s almost groan-inducing score. For most today the film will principally be of interest as social history.

DVD Extras: Audio Commentary with Donald Crombie and Michael Craig; Picture Gallery; Theatrical Trailer.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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