Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Australia 1986
Directed by
Mark Joffe / Marcus Cole
270 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Great Bookie Robbery

This 3 part made-for-television mini-series about Australia’s most-famous robbery is both a contender as Australia’s best-ever crime thriller and a very credible depiction of the life of the Australian career criminal.

The first episode directed by Mark Joffe who had learned his trade at Crawfords Studios in his first directorial job is easily the best and shows that he had studied Coppola and Scorsese. The second episode, directed by Cole introduces more of the familial elements, slowing the pace somewhat before the third episode, although still good value presents the usual problems of youngest siblings, that of inheriting hand-me-downs.

Made at a time when Melbourne was still a big provincial town, the location work is fabulous, there being few films which showcase the pre-yuppified inner suburbs so well. That it was also a time when cops had to find a phone box when they wanted to make an urgent call (and Gary Sweet had hair) and surveillance techniques were rough and ready all add to the somewhat anachronistic but to anyone of that generation, charmingly low key realism. The cast, led by English TV actor, John Bach, is uniformly excellent with many recognisable and not-so recognisable faces from George Spartels who subsequently made a career hosting Playschool  to stalwarts of 1970s Australian cinema like Dennis Miller. Although the film does lose pace somewhat over 270 minutes running time, particularly after the heist has been carried out, it really should be seen in one sitting to appreciate the full effect.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst