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 1982
Directed by
Phillip Noyce
86 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Based on real-life events in the inner Sydney suburbs of Kings Cross and Wolloomooloo during the 1970s, including the disappearance of anti-real estate development crusader Juanita Nielson (who has never been found), Phillip Noyce's third feature after Backroads, (1977) and Newsfront (1979) (he had been sacked from Attack Force Z, 1982) hybridises a little-people-vs-big-business social issue film with a steamy thriller format. The outcome is less than its parts.

The social conscience values that inform the film have long since evaporated, making it more of a historical piece than anything else, being set as it was at the very beginning of the redevelopment and gentrification of inner city suburbs which is now an everyday reality, the original working class denizens having long-since vacated. As a thriller it looks cheap and Noyce's direction disappointingly off-the-80s-rack and noticeably ill-fitting whilst the essential chemistry between the main characters, played by Judy Davis and Richard Moir, the latter an untrained actor and friend of the director, rarely raises a pulse. In addition some of the support performances, notably Frank Gallacher's King Cross sleaze bag, are borderline awful. Overall this is more of a chill than a heatwave.

FYI: The Juanita Nielson story was also the basis for Donald Crombie's no-more-successful The Killing Of Angel Street (1981)

DVD Extras: This remastered release slightly tweaks both the original release's audio and video as Noyce explains in an accompanying interview, Sweating It Out, in which he discusses the film. Additional extras include the theatrical trailer and a stills gallery

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




Want something different?

random vintage best worst