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Overall Rating
3.21

Awesome: 15.79%
Worth A Look42.11%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 31.58%
Total Crap: 10.53%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Muggers
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by Dust For Eyes

"Worth going into a dark alley to see"
4 stars

Muggers comes onto the scene as part of the wave of Australian film that aim to fill the cinemas rather than just please other filmmakers. Director, Dean Murphy has made a very amusing and enjoyable film about the desperate acts of the desperate.

The Australian film industry has long been criticised for its choice of target audience. As one terribly wise old man once said, the target audience for Australian filmmakers is other Australian filmmakers. Forget the punters who go to the cinema in the innocent, bright-eyed hope of seeing a film that's actually entertaining. They're terribly annoying commoners and the Australian industry would make much better films with out them.

Thankfully this view is changing.

Some were wondering what the effect of the invasion of Hollywood would be on the local industry. If it has lead to making films that people will be willing to part with their hard-earned working credit card for, then the invasion is a good thing. The recent stream of populist films is slowly turning into a torrent. Two Hands, Cut, The Wog Boy, and Looking For Alibrandi, are all recent examples of film where roping in the crowds has been at the front of the filmmakers' minds. It will be dreadful if the pendulum swings too far towards populism (ie too many films like Cut), but at the moment the balance looks good. Muggers continues this inclination towards good quality, yet also accessible and entertaining films.

Day (the cool one from A Country Practice and Muriel's boyfriend) and Barry (the cool one from Titanic - you remember him he was Leo's Irish friend) play two medical students struggling to make ends meet and are in a bit of trouble. They owe money to a Roy-Rogers-wannabe gangster (Haywood) and they are still short on cash for uni costs and paying the rent. They find out via a lecturer (Napier) of a Doctor Browning (Mullinar) who is willing to buy on the black market organs for transplants including kidneys and a liver.

Rather fortuitously, a kidney almost literally falls into the lap of the two students. Being medical trainees, they are able to remove the kidney, sell it to Browning and get themselves a financial windfall. With their financial troubles weighing heavy on their minds the attraction of organs for money becomes quite powerful.

Written as well as directed by Murphy (he did Lex and Rory a couple of years back), Muggers has a swift pace and good humour. The opening sequence is a highlight - albeit reminding the viewer of other films.

There has been a criticism that this film is merely a bucketful of Cliches. I wouldn't say that - Desperate people doing desperate things for money is a previously used theme, yet there is originality. Anthony Morgan as a muscle man / enforcer for a Roy Rogers loving gangster is quite an original idea if you ask me. The stuffy upper class upstart Nigel (Bosswell) has been seen before but he's only a minor character and you wonder why he's there at all.

Day is good as always - he's accumulating a solid body of work behind him now. Barry has that Celtic charm that he developed when in Titanic (or maybe he just always had it). Why, he's actually in this Australian film is anybody's guess. It's not as though he's going out with Nicola Charles or anything. Oh hang on. He is - they're engaged apparently.

The plot might give you the feeling of being a bit like Swiss cheese, but I think all holes are covered when you look around a bit. I seem to not notice plot holes most of the time anyway and it certainly doesn't detract from the film.

As an added bonus, Muggers has a message to tell as well as being an entertainment vehicle. The film quietly mentions the plight of education and medical funding in Australia. It tells us that students are living in squalor, constantly concerned with money and shows the health system making serious compromises for the sake of funding. This is a subtle message in the film, but it is there never the less.

Muggers deserves an audience of people whose primary requirement from a film is to be entertained. It is a comical, fun, and worthwhile 97 minutes of distraction.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3457&reviewer=166
originally posted: 05/23/00 22:40:45
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User Comments

12/20/09 R.B. Taylor Brilliant film, very well written. 5 stars
1/14/05 Cato A comedy about lovable organ thieves. As bad as it sounds. No, worse. Much, much worse. 1 stars
1/18/04 Matt Exceptional! Strong performances (Yared shines) and a fascinating, twisting, turning plot! 5 stars
1/11/02 ksaelagnulraon fun, entertaining; a 'mainstream alternative' Australian film 4 stars
6/30/00 L Strong Awful 1 stars
6/12/00 Catie I cant find this movie to see it 4 stars
6/03/00 MR joel harwood Wickedly funny 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jun-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-May-2000 (M)




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