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Australia 1983
Directed by
Carl Schultz
119 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Goodbye Paradise

It is the distinctive pen of Bob Ellis (who scripted this from an original idea by Denny Lawrence, who also gets a screenwriter's credit) that is the key to the success of this film although Ray Barrett's lead performance as Michael Stacey, a disgraced former Queensland Assistant Police Commissioner with a drinking problem, brings it to the screen with absolute fittingness.

Ellis takes the style of the Dashiell Hammett, perhaps passed through that of Dennis Potter, and relocates it to contemporary Surfer's Paradise with Stacey searching for a Senator's daughter known for behaving badly and finding himself in the middle of an ambitious plan to stage a military coup and form a breakaway state to exploit the natural wealth of the region. The political fantasy (it was released prior to the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption in Queensland and perhaps some will be able to recognize allusions to the real state of affairs in the Banana State at the time) is the weakest part of the film with Schultz seriously out of his depth when attempting any kind of action scene but the remainder is an acerbic delight with Stacey's voice-over a masterful exercise in world-weary humour (the script won an AFI in the year of its release, as did Barrett) and a supporting cast including Robyn Nevin, Paul Chubb and Lex Marinos in fine form.




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