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Australia 1993
Directed by
David Caesar
90 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


David's Caesar's first feature is an engaging effort firmly planted within the suburban battler comedy genre, a distinctively Australian category that looks back with humorous nostalgia to the classic Hills Hoisted and laminexed 1950s/1960s White Australia, no doubt the film-maker's own origins.

Caesar, who also wrote this, economically uses various dramatic devices to create an entertaining narrative without challenging the everyday which is the bedrock of the film. In the lead, Max Little is delightful as Lenny, a mullet-cut, none-too-bright-but-nice guy who works as greenkeeper in a Western Sydney bowls club. His life is going to the dogs - the club lawns are inexplicably turning green, his wife (Lisa Hensley) stays home all day smoking dope, his brother (David Wenham, in another spot-on performance) refuses to lend him $3000 she owes her dealer, and under these circumstance the club waitress (Gia Carides) starts to look attractive. Caesar has great fun with the Australian vernacular whilst the context of the bowls club gives him the excuse to role out some classic Aussie types (somewhat overdone in the case of Max Cullen) highlighted by the introduction of a Japanese player who looks set to win Pennant Day ('fair go, mate!').

Shot on 16mm it's a low budget affair but Caesar impressively shows his directorial skills both in his narrative pacing and visual composition.




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