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Australia 2005
Directed by
Kriv Stenders
92 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


There is a refreshing quality in the low budget, digital cinema verité type of film of which Kriv Stenders' Blacktown, winner of the 2006 Sydney Film Festival's Audience Award, is a commendable, if not particularly original, example.

Opening (and closing) with some catchy credits the film tells the story of the romance between Tony (Tony Ryan) an Aboriginal, ex-con and social worker and Nikki (Nikki Owen) a WASP clerical worker. Not being distanced by glossy production values and the homogenizing conventions of mainstream film-making, we feel immediately closer to the subjects and their story whilst both leads are very effective in bringing their characters to life. If Nikki Owen is probably too polished, too willing to meet the requirements of Stenders' narrative to be truly believable at the level of either character or performance, Tony Ryan, who presumably is an untrained actor, gives the film the authenticity that it needs to convince us of its purported realism although even he cannot save the film from a gradual shift away from its initial promise and towards the standard outcome of any crowd-pleasing screen romance.

FYI: The director appears as Nikki's married lover, Peter.




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