Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Australia 1977
Directed by
Michael Thornhill
100 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The F J Holden

Although dramatically as flat as a drag strip, a good deal of effort has gone into making this story of post-adolescent life in Sydney's Western suburbs as authentic as possible (the film originally was given an R rating) and as a result it is a valuable time capsule of the days before .05 killed pub-culture and drink-driving and when girls were compliant sexual objects and bell-bottoms and tank tops were all the rage.

The screenplay by Terry Larsen, with some assistance from Thornhill, is based on the former's short stories and poems and takes us through the life of Kevin (Paul Couzens), a teenager who works in an auto-wrecking yard, is doing up his FJ Holden and has a girlfriend (Eva Dickinson), a single mother with 2 young children.

If not social realism, there is little attempt to dramatize the narrative which straightforwardly offers Kevin and his circle as a typical samples of their milieu. The tone is stridently "g'day" Australian , albeit an affectionate portrayal of the everyday suburban world of shopping malls, all-you-can-eat hotel restaurants, drunken parties and permissive sex as a way of life for young bogans in the 'tween years of their lives. Couzens and Dickinson (who looks far older than her supposed 18) have little acting ability and indeed this was the only film that either of them made, somewhat surprisingly for Couzens was a good-looking young man with more screen miles in him (Dickinson appeared subsequently in a hand-full of episodes of a TV series Glenview High before also disappearing). On the other hand the film provided the first film appearance for Sigrid Thornton.

Although Skyhooks do briefly get an airing, most of the soundtrack is provided by Ol' 55 (their singer Frankie J. Holden appears at the party towards the end of the film), something which throws the mood of the film off its contemporary axis and gives it an oddly retro spin. Had rock bands of the time such as Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil and The Angels been called upon (presumably royalties prevented it) this could have been a more vibrant film.

DVD Extras: All new 16:9 transfer; and audio commentary by Thornhill helped along by film writer Peter Galvin; and original theatrical trailers

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




Want something different?

random vintage best worst