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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome41.32%
Worth A Look: 19.76%
Average: 13.77%
Pretty Bad: 4.79%
Total Crap: 20.36%

2 reviews, 155 user ratings


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Australian Rules
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by Andrew Howe

"Another slice of small-town life"
3 stars

Films addressing the concerns of Australia�s Aboriginal community are few and far between, but in the last six months Rabbit Proof Fence, Beneath Clouds and Black and White have redressed the balance. Australian Rules continues the trend by canvassing racial relations in a small rural town, and while its predecessors have stolen much of its thunder the central themes are always worth repeating.

There�s not a lot to do when you�re young and restless and living on the sparsely populated South Australian coastline, so the local Australian Rules football tournament is treated with the reverence usually reserved for sold-out matches at the MCG. Gary Black (Nathan Phillips) is making the most of his limited sporting talents, and when the final whistle sounds he spends his time doing a whole lot of nothing with the Aboriginal star player Dumby Red (Luke Carroll) and a racist dropkick named Pickles (Tom Budge). However, he gets all the action he needs at home courtesy of his abusive father Bob (Simon Westaway), and over the course of ninety minutes he works his way through a tale that encompasses sporting glory, domestic violence, the boredom of small-town life and explosive racial tension.

The film is based on Phillip Gwynne�s novel Deadly, Unna?, but his welcome input into the screenplay (co-written with director Paul Goldman) can�t disguise the fact that the adaptation lacks a strong narrative hook. Rabbit Proof Fence and Beneath Clouds used extended journeys to keep the narrative motoring along, while Black and White had an intriguing murder trial as its central focus. Australian Rules, on the other hand, is rooted in the stagnation of its characters� parochial worldview, and their lethargic attitude occasionally rubs off on the viewer. This is not necessarily a bad thing � the New Zealand film Rain moved at a snail�s pace, but its expertly created atmosphere of decay exerted an almost hypnotic effect on the audience. Unfortunately, Goldman is content to tell it straight, and since the town isn�t the most evocative of locations there are long periods when you may find yourself counting the minutes.

The performances are difficult to fault, with special mention going to Westaway�s portrayal of a father and husband who might have been a good man if he hadn�t allowed the isolation to convince him that he�s justified in dispensing with conventional morality. Bob�s the kind of down-to-earth guy can have a few laughs with at the pub, but every now and again his fa�ade slips to reveal the resentment born of the knowledge that he�s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. You�re suddenly grateful that you don�t have to live in the same house with the man, a luxury denied Gary and his long-suffering wife, and the film rises on the strength of Westaway�s ability to communicate his character�s baser characteristics without allowing it to degenerate into a one-note performance.

The script�s exploration of its themes holds few surprises, and you�d certainly never accuse the film of exercising undue subtlety. There�s a relationship between Gary and an Aboriginal girl which cements his status as a man who rejects the narrow-minded views of his peers, an instance of injustice at a prize-giving ceremony that makes it clear the town�s inhabitants have no intention of walking the road to reconciliation - it�s all well-constructed and perfectly watchable, but it�s difficult to escape the feeling that you�ve seen it all before. The sense of d�j� vu is exacerbated by underwritten characters and a predictable final scene, though I�m led to believe this is partly due to jettisoning several major sections of the novel in an effort to focus the narrative.

Despite its flaws, there�s enough on offer to justify a viewing. Some of the dialogue is inspired (the opening sequence is worth the price of admission alone), the final twenty minutes (excluding the coda) are peppered with powerful and emotional scenes, and Westaway takes the film to another level every time he appears onscreen. Expanding the narrative could have catapulted it into the realms of greatness, but we�re still left with a worthwhile addition to an area of Australian cinema that�s long overdue for expansion.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6036&reviewer=193
originally posted: 08/09/02 10:52:04
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/23/11 Gay Nigga Cunt I cop cock up my ass 1 stars
11/03/10 Simbob fuckin boongas 1 stars
9/06/10 Your Name: Your Comments: 5 stars
4/29/10 bob its was all right, too much drinking though 4 stars
9/20/09 Footy Dead Headz The real definition of a disaster movie... hit a nun after seeing this awful pollution. 1 stars
5/25/09 Jake Very well written and an excellent acting. Tackled many morale issues 4 stars
4/29/09 SoMeOnE the book was much better but it still contained some pretty good stuff about racism 4 stars
3/19/09 ergh compared to the book this was average and all you rascists you can get FUCKED! 3 stars
1/14/09 Cameron.Clark I came over the black chick 5 stars
10/31/08 Micheal Coffey I LOVE PICKLES!! SOOOOO HOT 5 stars
9/10/08 english awesome 5 stars
7/14/08 Sophie/Moo This movie tackled many issues relevant to today. Worth watching 4 stars
5/04/08 Stephh learnt stuff 5 stars
4/20/08 phoebe - it was so boring to watch, it needs to be set somewhere different, not the desert 1 stars
7/31/07 BiglBrah I Agree. You all need to start contributing to society 1 stars
7/31/07 sean loves doug get off the internet and go get a job 1 stars
6/28/07 Nav rocks The movie was excellent. It captures the true nature of racism. Fantastic. 5 stars
6/01/07 pig g8 book and film 4 stars
5/29/07 bob smith this movie was friggen gay and needs burning 1 stars
5/29/07 jimbopa this movie was like watchin gras grow 1 stars
5/22/07 Footy Fan its bloody awesome! its not racist at all. its showing racial awareness and what their like 4 stars
5/18/07 *KoRn QuEeN* how can some of you be so harsh. show a bit of respect. will you. its just a bloody movie. 5 stars
5/17/07 fleur it was really bad. and why does it need more porn? do u wanna c them? 2 stars
5/11/07 POONTANG its fucked i hate it its mean and racist 1 stars
5/05/07 Rosemary Lee Loved this movie!!! Everything about it was wonderful. Excellent 5 stars
4/30/07 BOO the movie was crap as 1 stars
4/11/07 mememe i absolute;y hated the movie. the book was at least a bit better.da assignment sux 2 stars
3/27/07 Lachlan Gregory I love Liam Walton 1 stars
3/25/07 bruce goes alrite 4 stars
11/30/06 i rule it was fucked up 1 stars
11/23/06 laura smith i thought it was a crap movie but pickles is hot 2 stars
10/24/06 Sean A excellent true blue film 5 stars
10/01/06 Malisa a fantastic watch if you like dramas. good quailty aussie acting. 5 stars
9/29/06 mama this movie sucks balls, it needs to show some tities 1 stars
9/29/06 Adcol This movie was fully shit 2 stars
5/23/06 kaka ummm it was ok... 3 stars
5/11/06 Amy its a good movie that teenages that love football will enjoy 4 stars
5/01/06 tayls It is a bloody good movie 5 stars
4/28/06 tobys mum pickls mum is a milf 5 stars
4/06/06 luke chandler really good 5 stars
3/29/06 sam it was ok... i did it for school 4 stars
11/03/05 khkghm blacky was good lookin 5 stars
9/21/05 nhmk bm 1 stars
9/16/05 ye the movie suks need more porn 5 stars
8/19/05 b Clarence is a black slut 3 stars
8/15/05 baker pretty cool 4 stars
8/01/05 Rachel Obrien the coach turns me on 5 stars
8/01/05 Sam Nelson Blacky is hot 5 stars
8/01/05 Ella Sutton great movie Clarence is so hot 4 stars
5/17/05 Jessica Saward 'Don't Gudge a book by it's cover' 4 stars
5/17/05 hannah its a lovely lovely movis full of joy and tlc 5 stars
4/01/05 Emily-Jane All right bit of a laugh lol :) 5 stars
3/29/05 Lyn ive seen better... 2 stars
2/28/05 jay crap crap crap crap crap 1 stars
1/07/05 Big Bill fantastic film 5 stars
10/31/04 kate crap crap crap 1 stars
10/29/04 osama bin laden it was shit 1 stars
10/28/04 Anabel I love this movie. Luke carroll is so hot! The movie is a great adaption of the book. 5 stars
10/21/04 kalena spurling hi how's it going 5 stars
9/23/04 Trent S bloddy awesome 5 stars
9/15/04 noname It was great, it captured the atmoshere of a true county town. 5 stars
9/08/04 am it was great 5 stars
9/07/04 Em It was a good movie, sad but good! Recomend it to all! 4 stars
9/01/04 hop rubbish 1 stars
8/30/04 Nannos a gutsy story. shows how sports can bring people togetner- both black and white 4 stars
8/16/04 Christine Black This is a life like story 5 stars
8/10/04 Godfrey the third and one half i loved the bit about Barney and how he sang his song!!! 4 stars
7/29/04 taylor le blanc if i wasnt so busy sucking off guys i might of watched this movie. 5 stars
7/29/04 skye excellent 5 stars
7/27/04 person its a stuppid movie 2 do for skool, so it sucked 1 stars
7/23/04 leigh knight it was so good i nearly wet my pants twice 5 stars
7/20/04 jasmine purdie excellent 5 stars
7/10/04 Nev Good movie..humour,pathos,racial divide,underlying domestic violence...a brave film 4 stars
6/27/04 dooshbag what the f(_)ck is dis, havent seen it but i heard it sucks the d1ck big time 1 stars
6/24/04 frankee good combination of humour and drama 4 stars
6/15/04 Peta great story line, great australian movie 4 stars
6/07/04 madison loved it 5 stars
5/29/04 Jessica Scattini Very different from the book, and kinda confusing...but alright! 2 stars
5/28/04 dick hole this film sucks the total cock...very hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
5/19/04 Matt is very entertaining 5 stars
5/11/04 Jade The book was better but the movie is still good 4 stars
5/07/04 Annie it was a pretty good movie it shows you the horrible racisum in this country 4 stars
4/20/04 Joh This movie is deep 5 stars
4/18/04 gh hgfh 1 stars
3/31/04 Craig O'halloran this movie was extremely crap, acually no..........it was so boring i fell asleep! 5 stars
3/30/04 LIK MY COK I HATE BOONGS 1 stars
3/23/04 Nilly K ThA BeSt (movie for school) 5 stars
3/17/04 joe crap 1 stars
3/15/04 James It was film in OZ. It must Be good 5 stars
3/15/04 sapphire awesome 5 stars
3/09/04 ed stollery it's agood movie 5 stars
2/29/04 Nicole very good australian film 4 stars
2/25/04 Kelly It wasnt as good as book but still worth it 3 stars
2/25/04 jake tait it was nothing compaired to the books it is based on 2 stars
2/24/04 Sandy It was Interesting! 3 stars
2/23/04 god i am god 4 stars
2/20/04 Lachlan Christie 1 stars
1/14/04 lagrossebete fair dinkum!!! top movie 5 stars
11/23/03 Laura Graham I loved it! Luke Carrol is a good actor. And dont you just love Pickles, he was soo funny. 5 stars
11/21/03 Clezza What a decent movie!!!!!I love Nathan Phillips 5 stars
11/13/03 Bezz it is the best i've seen this year 5 stars
11/11/03 Matt Harding This film brings my movie watching experance to an all time low 1 stars
11/05/03 dekem total crap 1 stars
10/30/03 Kerry Funny and sad, great story 5 stars
10/22/03 Amy Nunn really mooving stuff 5 stars
10/16/03 Suzi MaKenzie Excellent!!! 5 stars
9/20/03 Nicole theodoridif comparing to the book it absolutely suckssssss the directing the actors were alright 3 stars
9/08/03 Rosie Reynolds It was absolutely fantastic! 5 stars
9/06/03 helen fantastic, as good, or better than the book! (deadly unna) 5 stars
9/06/03 sOpHiE GREAT to all u ppl who say its crap u obviously dont understand wat its trying to express! 5 stars
9/03/03 naz great 5 stars
8/26/03 Anne worst movie man kind ever came up with no wonder it wasn't at the movies in town bloodycrap 1 stars
8/20/03 dre yeah its not too bad could be better 3 stars
8/18/03 Kate Bloody good Australian movie, depicted our 90's surperbly, extremely well done. 4 stars
8/17/03 Toya Good movie!! It is very realistic and definetly worth watching 5 stars
8/11/03 Eleanor Notley its pretty good 3 stars
8/10/03 Sarah Excellent film. Portrayed an Australian reality. Wasn't just another trashy teenage film. 5 stars
8/08/03 FRED RICK this movie is tha worst fuking movie ever it is so crap 5 stars
8/08/03 thomas this was a top notch movie and i wouldnt rather rape a donkey 4 stars
7/12/03 pbc english student i wish more black ppl died in it. watch the hitler movie this wknd! down wth the darkys! 1 stars
6/15/03 haydini ENGLISH SUX DICK I HATE IT 3 stars
6/10/03 F Good Movie. Good Acting. It's tops. 5 stars
6/03/03 reens A very eye opening and emotional movie 5 stars
5/22/03 veronica wellings it was too deadly!! 5 stars
5/07/03 ar ha hah a it was a really good movie... it was interesting and had a good plot. 4 stars
4/04/03 Daniel i would rather rape a donkey than watch this shit movie again. Fucking spongbob is better!! 1 stars
4/01/03 ben graham It is a fantastic look at modern day australia and how accepting or not accepting australio 4 stars
3/27/03 Em and Ange Oh yeah, but this assignment is shit!lol! 5 stars
3/26/03 Teresa Blanc I loved the movie, it is one of those twisted forbiden love films. 5 stars
3/19/03 Bildo The fucking shittest gay mother fucking movie ever, not enough white people in it 1 stars
3/19/03 Bill the shittest movie ever and now i have to do a gay assignment on it 1 stars
3/17/03 keera bilney it's deadly 5 stars
3/15/03 Kelly Stone A little too dramatic but a real eye opener 4 stars
1/15/03 jh very erotic 5 stars
11/06/02 Sue Berry A kick in the back for black youth and Pt Pierce Community 2 stars
10/23/02 Kira Funnily fantastic 5 stars
10/20/02 Jenna I haven't seen the movie but read tha book and it is great i just hope the movie is as well 5 stars
10/17/02 Mike Head bloody brillliant, Australian's need more of this type of film to erradicate the red neck 4 stars
10/17/02 Mike Head Bloody brilliant, Australians need more of this type of film to erradicate the red neck. 4 stars
10/10/02 Jules C Another Australian film that makes me proud to be an aussie 5 stars
10/02/02 Lee Burton Excellent fiesty drama with a bite! 5 stars
9/19/02 Me its really good 4 stars
9/18/02 siv its great! 5 stars
9/18/02 evry1 here sux just as bad as the movie except for Christina it woz total crap 1 stars
9/18/02 I dont no how to spell my name..........lol....soz I fought it was alrite 3 stars
9/18/02 Christina Brown it sucked 1 stars
9/17/02 Pippin Ellis Fucking Brilliant 5 stars
9/14/02 Michael Claxton EXCELENT 5 stars
9/09/02 anna it was a great movie that shows people the way others treat people because of their colour. 4 stars
9/08/02 Chloe Meiers FANTASTIC 5 stars
9/03/02 Leah I have read the book and I loved it, I saw the film and I loved it. 5 stars
8/31/02 Jack Fairchild Evocative, cutting and witty 5 stars
8/31/02 Matthew Smith a strong urban Australian drama, a well told story 4 stars
8/26/02 Jim Lisa Flanagan is 'worth a look' 3 stars
8/20/02 Sean leaves you thinking a long time after you see it 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Mar-2002

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Aug-2002




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