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Australia 2002
Directed by
David Caesar
107 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Jim Thomson
3.5 stars

Dirty Deeds

For many, Dirty Deeds is the kind of Aussie crime film that has been a long time coming. If director David Caesar aimed to deliver a fun, high-octane romp through the sleazy 60s Sydney underworld, he's come up trumps. A glitzy excursion with a blistering soundtrack (produced by You Am I's Tim Rogers), Dirty Deeds uses every trick in the book to make this an enjoyable 100 minutes.

Returning to Sydney after his tour-of-duty in Vietnam, Darcy (Sam Worthington) finds himself drawn into his uncle Barry's (Bryan Brown) pokies crime rort. While the local competition ups the stakes, taking out Barry's crew one by one, two American gangsters (John Goodman & Felix Williamson) arrive in the harbour city with some plans of their own...

Brown reprises his gangster role from Two Hands (1999), joined by tough-as-nails wife Sharon (Toni Collette) and corrupt police sergeant Ray (Sam Neill). Clearly, cast and crew have had a blast with this one, both teams flexing their creative muscle in an overtly entertaining way. Production values are high; the film's superbly shot by DOP Geoffery Hall (Chopper (2000)), costumes and sets look the part, the humour is unequivocally Aussie and Collette's rough-as-guts Sharon steals every scene. With all those authentic 60s style frenetic zooms and swivel tracks, with all those jump cuts, psychedelic camera angles and other technical razzamatazz, Caesar manages to inject a little bit of soul into the proceeding through the character of Darcy and John Goodman's world-weary bagman.

Compared to Caesar's previous features, Mullet (2001) and Idiot Box (1996), Dirty Deeds may seem hollow. Still, that's not really what the film's about. It's about havin' a laugh, and that's not such a bad thing.




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