As an armored car rolls over the iconic Sydney harbor bridge Bruce Beresford establishes the location for what is otherwise a non site-specific heist story that attempts to quell the omnipresence of urban malaise. Quickly paced cross cutting alludes to the monetary volume of the armored car's destination, a security firm owned by Lionel Darcy (Frank Wilson). Who doesn't want a piece of that action? Immediately, the viewer is oriented with the network involved in the movement of Australian currency and, subsequently, the number of hands the bills pass through. Laundering beckons. A screenplay loosely based on the 1972 work of Donald Minchin, Beresford blends the framework with a true crime story, credited in the opening sequence. The camera meanders through the blue-collar operation floor and driver's depot to settle behind the closed doors of the technocrats. After being shaken down by local crooked cop Sammy Rose (Alan Cassell), Lionel Darcy receives an anonymous tip from his object of a secretary, a warning that his firm is soon to be hit, worrying more than just the boss.
Eric Jackson (Terence Donovon) his brother Brian (Brian Brown) and a mate (who could be mistaken as their father) Ed Gallagher (Ray Marshall) have been planning an inside job for almost five years. These Ockers aren't going allow some "poof" to rock up asking where his piece is? They have their own suspicions regarding the culprit, new employee Leo Bassett (Tony Bonner). The amateur sleuths plan to initiate the rookie as means to their own ends, a true mask for self-interest. Other than Beresford's introduction to operations and interest groups, there exists no further marring of public and private, each character riddled with the presence of corruption. Any further duality is developed through action, the result governing over whether he becomes victimized or acts as victimizer.
The first "action" is a mob hit on a Darcy's armored car, fisticuffs ending in a shotgun blast so visceral, it alone warrants the 18+ rating. Was it the mob that sent the letter? When the press gets word of the heist, the ensuing public relations blunders solidify the ineptness of corporate crisis management, foreshadowing further assaults on the company. Local crime boss Jack Henderson (Charles 'Bud' Tingwell) obviously wants a piece of the action. The Ockers have spent so much time planning that they rebuilt a custom armored car for heist day. What about they new guy? The fraternity amongst interest groups ranges from professional to amateur, each camp knowing full well that "if someone was to rip the joint off if would be done from the inside."
Beresford deconstruct the effects of money and subsequence on business, personal and family relations and presents it in a classic plot design that makes the stigma of the "who done it" malleable. Money Movers asks who's going to do it? "I remember that one," says Brian Brown. "I had done a couple of movies, and got to read the part for the cop, but knew I wasn't anything like him." Asking which part he preferred Brian told Bruce that he "...could play the brother, but I knew it had been cast. It had been cast." Two hours later Brian got his wish, cast as Brian Jackson, along side Terence Donovan, the brother to the leading role. "I was young, too much of a kid play the gritty cop, but the brother," remembers Brian, "I could do that."
The official line on Money Movers has tended to focus the fraternity between male characters and "their" women; secondary objects who legitimize their function by getting coffee or being a lamb and leaving the room when business is on the table. It appears as if little within the genre, certainly in terms of gender relations, has been revised in the last twenty years. David Caesar recalls that like most heist or crime genre films, "...it's important not to pretend otherwise, it's a guys film. Money Movers is a good film, an underrated film that not enough Australian's have seen." The fraternity in Money Movers, the "boys club" mentality, has acted as a catalyst for many of the generic successes that are popular today.
Watching Money Movers is only possible on VHS at this point. Its structure popularized the Australian crime film with undertones present in Hollywood films such as Michael Mann's Thief, 1981. Money Movers houses a subtext that most viewers can relate to, which is why a reprise warrants further research. Wouldn't it be nice to have all that money? How would my life be different...surely for the better? Bruce Beresford showed, with eloquence, how this idealism could backfire, without the cynicism often associated with the down and out, or the stereotypes of big business or organized crime. As such the film is an important landmark on Australian cinematic spectrum for, as Brian Brown concludes "it was a fun movie to do, and now that we are doing quite a few crime genre movies like Chopper and Dirty Deeds, it was really Money Movers that first put us into that sort of territory."
Brian Brown and David Caesar interview by Ashley Allinson on September 11, 2002 in Toronto.
Running Time: 94 minutes Video Release: July 2, 1991 Distributed by: Roadshow, Imperial Entertainment Corporation
Cast: Terence Donovon: Eric Jackson Ed Devereaux: Dick Martin Tony Bonner: Leo Bassett Lucky Grills: Robert Conway Alan Cassell: Sammy Ross Frank Wilson: Lionel Darcy Candy Raymod: Mindel Seagers Bryan Brown: Brain Jackson
Crew: Bruce Beresford: Director Matthew Carrol: Producer Donald McAlpine: Director of Photography David Copping: Art Editor William Anderson: Editor