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aka - David Williamson's Emerald City
Australia 1989
Directed by
Michael Jenkins
92 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Emerald City

The city in question is Sydney and the emerald signifies wealth but also in being green, greed and envy, in David Williamson's amusing satire on its film and publishing industries. No doubt grounded in a good deal of personal experience, Williamson's script, based on his own hit stage play, is an enjoyable romp with fast-paced dialogue which, although somewhat redolent of its theatrical origins, is delivered with great verve by its principals, John Hargreaves, Robyn Nevin and Chris Haywood.

As husband and wife, Colin (Hargreaves), a screenwriter and Kate (Nevin) a literary agent, at the former's urging leave the sedate purlieus of Melbourne and head up to Sydney to try to advance his/their careers. Colin meets Mike McCord (Hayward in one of his best-ever screen performances) a wannabe film producer with his eye on the commercial ball. The contrast between Colin and Mike provides the mainstay of the film which is consistently amusing, even at times approaching the style of a screwball comedy. Perhaps on the stage this was more so the case as apparently Williamson toned down the female characters, that of Mike's girlfriend, played by Nicole Kidman, in particular for the screen. The film performed poorly both critically and at the box office but if not of the standard of The Club it still has plenty to offer

DVD Extras: This 2 disc set has 3 extensive featurettes: The Demons Within with recent interviews with Williamson and Haywood talking about the film and its making: Tall Tales But True, a contemporary retrospective of Williamson's career; and Compulsive Playwright also dealing with Williamson's career but made some 20 years ago.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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