More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.15

Awesome: 23.08%
Worth A Look: 15.38%
Average: 15.38%
Pretty Bad46.15%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 7 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Rob Gonsalves

Roman J. Israel, Esq. by Peter Sobczynski

Coco (2017) by Peter Sobczynski

Prey (2017) by Jay Seaver

Lu Over the Wall by Jay Seaver

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by alejandroariera

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Peter Sobczynski

Justice League by Peter Sobczynski

Mumon: The Land of Stealth by Jay Seaver

Geek Girls by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Newsfront
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Stephen Groenewegen

"Reel people, not real people"
2 stars

Newsfront tells of a newsreel reporter, Len Maguire (Bill Hunter), in an episodic tale spanning the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. Director Phillip Noyce and the various screenwriters (Bob Ellis, Noyce, David Elfick and Philippe Mora) tell Maguire’s story against a backdrop of historical events covered by newsreels of the period.

Maguire has a brother (Gerard Kennedy) working for the rival newsreel company who competes with him and then “sells out” by heading to Hollywood to make his fortune. Maguire marries, with no warning, Fay (Angela Punch in a scrunched-up face performance) who turns out to be a more conservative Catholic than he expected. So Len carries on an affair with the liberated Amy (Wendy Hughes) from the studio. Both female characters are underwritten, leaving the actresses struggling for something to sink their teeth into.

At the studio, we meet a host of Maguire’s co-workers. Best of all is Chris Haywood as his soundman, a convincingly plucky lad out from England to make his fortune. Unfortunately, like the equally episodic Caddie, Newsfront suffers from “disappearing character syndrome”. Just when a character shows potential for development, they’re gone (Bryan Brown’s left wing editor also falls into this category). There’s been no time to establish most of them properly so the effect is disruptive and disconcerting.

There are simply too many happenings and subsidiary characters in Newsfront for Noyce to do them justice. Even Bill Hunter’s celebrated lead performance seems a superficial representation of an idealistic man. We deduce that Maguire’s all about loyalty and the decent thing to do, not sufficiently through his actions but because he tells people that’s what’s important.

Symptomatic of the film itself, he presents the big picture and the unimportant characteristics and details effectively, but at the expense of providing much depth. Newsfront isn’t a celebration of a man or his life, because we don’t have enough feeling for who he is beyond an abstract ideal, and that ideal isn’t sufficiently or convincingly explicated to be worth celebrating.

The screenplay overdoses on Australian slang - “tiger”, “bite your bum”, “mate” - that comes out of a phrasebook rather than he mouths of real people. There are endless and extraneous jingoistic asides - every line seems to contain exposition elaborating on some trivial aspect of the set or Australian history and culture. Everyone is too busy singing advertising jingles of the time to fully convey their characters. When Maguire’s boss AG (Don Crosby) has a heart attack there’s been no previous buildup to make this seem realistic. It would have had more power if we could see it coming from earlier than the start of the scene.

The technical achievement of mixing old newsreel footage with period recreation is superbly realised, as is the film’s Maitland floods set piece. But I was confused by the seemingly erratic shifts from colour to black and white and back again (presumably necessitated by having to integrate black and white newsreel footage). I think the domestic scenes are mostly colour, but there’s no obvious thematic reason for the transformations and they often seem unrelated to what’s occurring on screen.

Ambition wins out over cohesion in Newsfront. The film lurches from home-life drama to sporting competition to office politics to governmental crisis haphazardly, without the curious mix of domestic detail and public event ever meshing convincingly. Considering this film’s heady reputation as one of the great Australian films of the 1970s, I was ultimately very disappointed.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8090&reviewer=104
originally posted: 08/15/03 13:56:44
[printer] printer-friendly format  
For more in the Australian series, click here.

User Comments

9/28/12 Simon T I agree, it's good to look at, but fails to engage due to zero character development. 3 stars
1/31/10 PAUL SHORTT ENJOYABLE, LIVELY AND WELL CRAFTED 4 stars
9/24/08 brian bland 3 stars
4/21/08 Jack Sommersby Very interesting and well told. 4 stars
4/11/05 David Nichols Epic! 5 stars
1/14/05 Oaks Day Groanwagon you have to be joking! Newsfront is a classic. But no 'Take Away' apparently! 5 stars
10/16/03 Ben Garside Simply can't believe that first "reviewer" -- Newsfront is tremendous by any standards. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  N/A (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Jul-1978 (PG)




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast