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Australia 2002
Directed by
Alex Proyas
105 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Ruth Williams
2.5 stars

Garage Days

Synopsis: It's not easy to break into the music scene these days. You don't need to tell Freddy (Kick Curry) and the rest of the band. Garage Days visits the world of Freddy, Tanya (Pia Miranda), Lucy (Chris Sadrinna), Joey (Brett Stiller) and Kate (Maya Stange), tracking what it takes to get their first gig, and what it takes to survive each other.

With films like The Crow (1994) and Dark City (1998) under his belt, it looks like Proyas decided to dig deep back into his past and show us that he can do more than dark and moody. The opening titles set the tone for an up-beat story, but we all know that it can be a mistake to read a film by its opening titles. After a very short time into this slick-looking film, I started looking at the ground, rubbing my forehead wondering where on earth it was heading.

When is something going to happen, I shout to the empty theatre. And then, nothing happened. Not for some time at least. Don't get me wrong, things happened. There's plenty of sex, drugs and the picking up and putting down of musical instruments, but as far as filmic action, as far as keeping me interested, as far as there being a story worth telling, the offerings were meagre. The characters are quite charming, each in their own way, but, considering the range of talent appearing in the film, you have to wonder why it takes so long to feel any sense of empathy for them. Even though by the closing credits I'd changed my mind and was mentally dancing along to the final song, a better script with a clearer pitch would have helped this film immensely.

P.J.Hogan did a great job of marrying tragedy and comedy in Muriel's Wedding (1994) but Proyas doesn't hit the mark in his attempts to stay up-beat, in his portrayal of the enthusiasm of youth as well as considering the darker subjects, for instance, the tortured world inhabited by Joey. Equally, Richard Lowenstein captured the grungy side of the music world so convincingly in Dogs In Space (1987), a film he made at the still-quite-tender age of twenty-eight. Perhaps Proyas has crossed that invisible line that separates present experience from fond memories.




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