The premise for this movie is nothing new - death of parent, sons coming to terms with their divided feelings but director Alan White manages to inject something fresh into the cliche. This is a film that doesn't moralize or preach. It's just about two brothers trying to work out their relationship after their drunken abusive father finally dies of a stroke. Barky, the younger brother, left home, like his mother, to escape, leaving Wace behind, embittered and resentful, to look after their sick father.
This character film absorbs and irritates simultaneously. The lead characters are convincing and complex, and both beautifully acted, but an inappropriate and buzzingly annoying soundtrack spoils the mood of the piece and the supporting cast is just there to pad out the relationship between the two brothers. Left me wondering if it would have been better as a play, where the overly talky script would have been more at home.
We don't really discover much about Barky during the movie that we didn't know at the beginning. His character is peculiarly static. The fact that Marty Denniss gives a rich and layered performance but manages to be upstaged is testament to Jackman's dominating screen presence and the depths he brings to Wace's character without overplaying. It is his divided feelings about his father and brother that the movie is about. He is not likeable, but Jackman makes you want to experience his salvation.
In spite of some scripting inadequacies, this is a movie that you find yourself thinking about long after you leave the theatre, which is probably one good reason for seeing it. The other reason is Jackman.
Great photography of inner Sydney and not a Harbour Bridge in sight.
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