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Australia 1999
Directed by
Julie Money
83 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars


The threat to the nuclear family from an external force is a theme popular in American film. In this Australian variant the family is mother Kate (Linda Cropper), dad Phil (Jeff Truman, who also wrote the film from the original script by Trevor Shearston), and son Matt (Wade Osborne). The threat comes from three young petty thieves, one of whom, Rachel (Anna Lise Philips) becomes the focal point of a head-to-head struggle that climaxes in tragedy.

"It seems" because first-time feature film director Money (she has a background in television having directed episodes of A Country Practice and The Adventures of Skippy) chooses to open with an elliptical scene which undermines a sense of narrative motivation as we do not know how it fits into the chronology of events, whether it is cause or effect (nor is it clear how envy figures in the proceedings). This is a pity because the essential idea of escalating violence occasioned by a minor incident and moral outrage (on both sides) is quite strong and effectively handled.

Whilst it is unfair to compare this film with an equivalent Hollywood production it suffers from a lack of credible character behaviour (particularly that of the mother and father) and painfully banal dialogue. Anna Lise Philips is perfectly cast as the destructively manipulative,Rachel, surely one of the least likeable female characters to have graced our screens in years, but overall the film lacks a coherent dramatic sense and relies overly much on convenient plot points to arrive at its destination.




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