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Stone Bros

Australia 2009
Directed by
Richard J. Frankland
89 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars

Stone Bros

Synopsis: Eddie (Luke Carroll) and Charlie (Leon Burchill) head off from Perth to their hometown, Kalgoorlie in a beat-up Ford Fairlane to return a sacred stone to their uncle.   

2009 has seen the release of some outstanding Australian films. Stone Bros is not one of them. In fact it is so far from being one of them that it is difficult to understand how it ever got funded (by the Australian Film Finance Corporation, SBS Independent and ScreenWest amongst others). The script, by the director with additional material from William Bainbridge, is in the familiar road-trip format and Frankland (not to be confused with genre director Richard Franklin), who has a short CV in television, does nothing original with his material onscreen. Leon Burchill is mildly amusing, if the bug-eyed blackfella cliché is your idea of humour whilst Luke Carroll is simply lacking in comedic skills or screen presence.

Is there anything good to be said about Stone Bros? Well, if you want to get an idea of what Kalgoorlie and the countryside around it looks like, it is good for that. Peter Phelps injects a brief ray of hope as an Outback copper in search of his Dreaming but the script is sorely lacking in wit. In the place of smart dialogue, Frankland relies on physical gags but they are either hackneyed (the first time I can recall characters in the front seat of a car screaming in fright straight to camera was done by the Coens in Raising Arizona, 1987, and do we really another hefty drag queen, even an Aboriginal one?) or bungled (a running joke about a large spider simply peters out and one about a small dog is drained of all value).

If Frankland had tried for a bit of graciousness instead of going for all-out broad comedy he might have created something of interest but with his '80s Yahoo Serious-style sense of comedy, his film is so far off the contemporary pulse that it’s just not funny.




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