Placid Lake is sick of being defined as an outsider - by schoolyard bullies, his ridiculously New Age parents (Garry McDonald and a scene-stealing Miranda Richardson) and even his egghead platonic girlfriend (a stitched-up Rose Byrne). He just wants to be “normal”. On finishing school, he dons a suit, gets a George W. Bush haircut and joins the rank and file at Icarus Insurance. But can his plan to reinvent himself succeed?As musician and first-time actor Ben Lee plays him, Placid is, well, somewhat placid. Lee makes for a suitably likeable and gawky outsider, but he doesn’t successfully suggest the well of rage deep inside Placid that he’s looking to repress. Nevertheless, it’s an appealing and funny performance. Rose Byrne adds another string to her bow and Christopher Stollery, of the Bell Shakespeare Company, is wickedly droll as Placid’s mentor in the insurance industry.
Playwright Tony McNamara is making his directorial debut with an adaptation of his play, “The Cafe Latte Kid”. His direction is straightforward, rather than stylish, but he’s done a terrific job reshaping the material to shrug off its stage origins. The Rage in Placid Lake is a little deflated by its ending, which lacks the element of surprise that’s otherwise present throughout.On the whole, it’s a welcome and witty comedy with bite.
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.