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Overall Rating

Awesome: 23.53%
Worth A Look: 11.76%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 23.53%

1 review, 11 user ratings

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Night We Called It a Day, The
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Night off"
3 stars

The Night We Called It A Day boasts some terrific performances and great ideas (not to mention a clever title), but is betrayed by a plot that fails to unite all the ingredients into a satisfying whole.

In 1974, Frank Sinatra visited Australia as part of his “Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back” tour. Angered by intrusive questioning from the press, he denounced journalists as hookers, among other choice epithets. Australian unions responded by refusing to work with him, concerts were cancelled and the tour ground to a halt.

Against this historical backdrop, writers Peter Clifton and Michael Thomas have added a fictional love story between a shonky rock promoter, Rod Blue (Joel Edgerton), and his besotted assistant Audrey (Rose Byrne). Clifton knows a thing or two about 1970s rock - he’s directed several documentaries including Led Zeppelin’s famed The Song Remains the Same in 1976.

Unfortunately, the weakest element of the film is the love story that takes centre stage. No fault of the players, since Edgerton and Byrne are especially strong, but it strains credulity to have Blue sleep with the glamorous reporter (Portia de Rossi) who kicks off the controversy. Not to mention having us believe that Sinatra (Dennis Hopper) and mistress Barbara Marx (Melanie Griffiths) were interested enough in all this to play matchmaker.

Director Paul Goldman (Australian Rules) recreates the political stoush with a pleasingly satirical glint in his eye. He seems less assured with overt comedy and, by the frenetic climax, seems to have lost his way altogether. The frenzied editing smacks of uncertainty, or worse desperation, on Goldman’s behalf as to how to tie the story together. So we cut between Sinatra on stage, Blue in a punch-up with one of Sinatra’s minders and Blue’s office assistant having a baby!

Hopper makes a surprisingly convincing Sinatra, except when lip-synching to Tom Burlinson’s vocals. Melanie Griffiths is every inch the star and there’s good support from David Field, who contributes a canny impersonation of union leader Bob Hawke. I’m not sure why English actor David Hemmings (who has directed and appeared in several Australian films since the late 1970s) was cast as Sinatra’s attorney, and I’m even less convinced it was money well spent.

The Night We Called It A Day is buoyed by stylish design and performances. It’s a shame when it’s bogged down before the finish.

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originally posted: 09/02/03 16:03:01
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/12/08 Peter M. Dillon An absolute hoot. 1974 was a great year, the more so because of Sinatra's visit down under 4 stars
8/09/05 doyou nightly bad 1 stars
6/22/05 Charlie Why did was the title changed to ALL THE WAY for the DVD release? 3 stars
1/14/05 Cato As bad as bad can be. 1 stars
3/07/04 Grant Lewis great entertainment. If you can find fault with this you are looking too hard 4 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Griffith is wonderful & Hopper very convincing. 5 stars
9/27/03 lord Attenborough excellent 5 stars
8/16/03 John Bale A lookalike fine cast and top script makes feelgood flick the best Aussie in yonks 5 stars
8/15/03 Paul Dempsey The morons responsible for this crap should call it a day! 1 stars
8/15/03 Double G ya right 1 stars
8/11/03 Jim Finlay Very Good!! Funny, fun and fast paced. 5 stars
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