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Australia 1997
Directed by
Steven Vidler
90 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Although opening with an unpromisingly lengthy depiction of a group of yobbo teens doing nothing much except being raucous and obnoxious as only yobbo teens can, Blackrock develops into a credible account of misguided youth and generational disaffection set against the working class environment of Newcastle, on the coast of New South Wales.

After a party held by Jarred (Lawrence Bruels) for his best mate and local legend 'Ricko' (Simon Lyndon) who has just returned from a surfing jaunt up the coast in his Sandman panel van things go very wrong and Jarred is caught between his conscience and his loyalty to Ricko. The generational divide is driven home by a sub-plot involving Jarred's single mother, Dianne (Linda Cropper), and her battle with breast cancer, her rebellious son and his uninterested father (John Howard).

Based on an actual rape and murder of a Newcastle teenager after a surf club party in 1991 and adapted by Nick Enright (who wrote the screenplay for Lorenzo's Oil which was directed by George Miller) from his stage play it is a confronting story that successfully shows the human face of a brutal act, delivered with commitment and occasionally histrionic over-statement by actor and first-time director Vidler that convinces by its empathy with its youthful subjects and the naturalness of its performances and settings.

FYI: Heath Ledger has a small role as Toby, the brother of Jarred's girlfriend.




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