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Saturday, October 29, 2005


Despite being in Australia for almost a year and a half, I have yet to see an Australian film in the cinemas (but then, I haven't seen a Malaysian film in the cinemas at all throughout my entire life...). The fact is, hell, Hoyts (what it is in Australia is what TGV or Golden Screen are in Malaysia) don't bloody show Australian films much, just Hollywood. Well, there were some lame-looking comedies, and a Delta Goodren film during the first half of the year, but that's it. I could've seen the Delta Goodrem film if her goddamn duet with Brian McFadden hadn't made me hate her so utterly.

Anyway, I decided to remedy this drought of mine by checking out the newspapers, finding places where I can see a damn Aussie film. And voila! Turned out that there's actually a cinema at Fremantle which is hidden at the corner thus never really grabbed my attention throughout the thousands of times I've walked past it.

One Australian film I was looking out for was 'Little Fish', which isn't related to Tim Burton's 'Big Fish', but has Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving in it as recovering drug addicts. Galadriel and Elrond as recovering drug addicts, perfect.

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Image hosted by TinyPic.com

However, while I was buying the ticket, I was recommended by the ticket seller to go for The Proposition instead, since I had my reservations about waiting for 2 hours to see 'Little Fish'. I wasn't that interested about Proposition, despite the five-star review it got in Empire magazine. And from what I saw in the TV ads, it's pretty much about a grubby half-naked Guy Pearce running around with a gun, hunting for his psychopathic brother.

"It's written by Nick Cave!" The popcorn-selling woman standing nearby enthused.

"Hm... never heard of him." I said.

"He's an icon!" The popcorn-selling woman said. "I think someone like you will enjoy this film much more! It has a lot of violence!"

"All right." I said and bought the ticket, keeping quiet about my secret love for fluffy romantic comedies.

Murderous bushranger brothers Charlie (Guy Pearce) and Mikey Burns are made an offer by British Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone, very good in this role) that for them to be pardoned for their crimes, Charlie has to hunt down his psychotic evil brother Arthur (Danny Huston). And so, the angst-filled Charlie (come on, Guy Pearce's roles are usually angst-filled or guilt-filled, he and Jennifer Connelly should start appearing in screwball comedies) had to accept this to protect his younger mentally-challenged bro Mikey (I wasn't aware that he was mentally-challenged until I read the reviews of this film last night, thinking that he was just some whiny little ass).

This story isn't told purely through Charlie's point of view, but Captain Stanley's too, as he watched the inhabitants of the town, and even his own wife (Emily Watson) become increasingly pissed off when they found out about the proposition he made with Charlie. And they were soon demanding for Mikey's blood. Oh, Faramir's in it too. David Wenham plays Captain Stanley's superior, who wants to see Mikey flogged to satiate the bloodlust of the pissed-off townsmen. Something like that. And then, there's Arthur, a cool badass villain (guy on the right at pic below) who stares at the sunset all the time, is pretty poetic, and also very casual when he's killing people.

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So yes, this joint UK-Australia production is a good movie with great acting from the international cast, the pacing is slow, the violence only happened in short explosive spurts, but it didn't bore me. It definitely had a much different feel from a Hollywood film.

Oh, maybe the 'different feel' I described above might also be attributed to the fact that there were only THREE (including myself) people in the cinema. Yes, just me, and this couple sitting a few rows in front of me. Holy crap, after all the heavy promotion, the ads on the TV, the big-name cast, and... it could only get THREE people in the cinemas during a Friday afternoon? Just a couple of blocks away, at this Hoyts cinema, there were huge groups of people flocking in to see Doom. Right, so this western film really isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I didn't expect things to be that bad for Australian cinema.

Throughout the entire year, I've been reading about how the Australian film industry is suffering and such, with the commercial failures of most of their works, including those high-profile ones (like that Delta Goodrem film), and things weren't looking up until the past few months, when a number of good Australian movies came out, like this, and Little Fish, and Look Both Ways (these three films garnered the most nominations for the AFI awards, which is Australia's equivalent of the Oscars), but I guess only the quality and artistic values of the films were improving, and that in term of commercial successes, they still had a long way to go. Come on, when some of the biggest Australian stars are in a film, and it could only get 3 people in the cinema during a Friday afternoon, that's kinda sad.

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