Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Australia 2003
Directed by
Jonathan Teplitzky
100 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Gettin' Square

Synopsis: ‘Wattsy’ Wirth (Sam Worthington) is fresh out of prison and determined to go straight. But like his not-too-bright mate Johnny ‘Spit’ Spitieri,(David Wenham) a junkie, he finds that old ways die hard.

The fact that the writer of Gettin’ Square, Chris Nyst, also happens to be Pauline Hanson’s lawyer suggests that either he likes the folding stuff or that he has a love of the common people. This film, which calls on his experience as a criminal defender, suggests that both reasons apply. A heist movie set on Queensland’s Gold Coast with sun-loving villains, lots of gold jewellery, bottle blondes and fake cowhide, it opens with the job and then rolls back to tell us how it all came to pass. The pacy script is very well rendered by director Teplitzky and DOP Garry Phillips – it’s fast, flashy and fun, with the Queensland sun giving the visuals a suitably hyper-real sharpness, and a punchy collection of pop songs kicking proceedings along.

The predominantly male cast revel in their parts as tough guys and low life. Gary Sweet is right on as the bad bad guy, whilst the always watchable Tim Spall, is a hoot as his opposite number, Cockney ex-pat and would-be ex-crook, Dabba Barrington. David Wenham is terrific as the ‘Spit’, the witless junkie, however the much-vaunted courtroom scene is, for my money, too much of a good thing. There’s a great supporting cast of characters although David Field, surely the most over-exposed actor in Australian film today, is mis-cast as Arnie DeViers the crooked cop, a role which called for a much “heavier” actor. Sam Worthington is appropriately mild-mannered as the focal point around which this carousel of scallywags revolves.

With all this going for the film, why was I so unaffected? Essentially because we’ve seen it all before. Quentin Tarantino opened the deck with Pulp Fiction and Guy Ritchie notably upped the ante with Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Certainly there’s plenty of lads in the Aussie film industry who also want to make way cool ‘gangsta’ movies. David Caesar did a very creditable job of it with Dirty Deeds. Gettin’ Square is in many ways a "Son of" that film (Macquarie Film Corporation, Nine Films and Television and Hoyts Distribution were involved in both films and Sam Worthington played a similar role in both), with a slice of Sexy Beast-Costa Brava-poolside-kitsch thrown in for good measure. Whilst this film is slicker than Caesar’s it lacks his visual panache and its script, whilst strong on the dialogue and often amusing, in terms of characters is over-dependent on caricature and is overloaded with gratuitous plot devices (notably the forced romantic sub-plot, obviously designed to hold the female members of the audience). And I’d like to meet someone who could follow the climactic switcheroo.

All up, Gettin’ Square is big on post-modern gloss and brazenly-knowing Aussie crassness but in the absence of any tangible substance, it evaporates on contact with the air.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst