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Australia 2007
Directed by
John Studley / Andrew O'Keefe
85 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Independent

The subject of politics seems to be unusually attractive to Australian independent, low budget film-makers -  think of films like Demonstrator (1971) and A Sting In The Tale (1989). Andrew O’Keefe’s film is the latest addition to the collection and it is a strong one - satirically humorous and with some depth, intelligently realized.

Feeling very much like a mockumentary,The Independent follows the adventures of Marty Browning (Lee Mason) a grassroots politician standing as an independent candidate. With characteristically naïve diligence he goes on a door-knocking campaign around his home suburb of Richmond in Melbourne. Initial success and the coincidental death of the sitting member leads to his involvement with a professional campaign manager (Tony Nikolakopoulos) and Marty finds himself being drawn into the slippery world of professional politics. We also get a glimpse of something of Marty’s personal history, leading us to expect a twist in the narrative that when it duly comes gives the film a much darker tone.

Well-scripted by O’Keefe and Studley (they also did the editing) this disarming film gradually develops from its apparently tongue-in-cheek mockumentary style to something a good deal more challenging and handles the transition skillfully, with a nicely developed roster of characters, well-realized by a strong cast. Shot on High Definition DVD, although the ending is a little too neat, it is a testament to the talents and commitment of its creative team.

FYI: The film’s executive producer, the Hon. Neil O’Keefe, presumably a relative of the director, was a former federal Labor Party shadow minister.




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