"Tense and violent. A character study of a sociopath."
At the time of its original theatre production, The Boys received international critical acclaim, winning an AWGIE for best new Australian play and a Sydney Critic's Circle Award for best direction. The film release of The Boys, adapted for the screen by one of Australia's leading playwrights Stephen Sewell, has already won accolades at Berlin's 48th International film competition.It's a tense and violent film which sets its audience constantly on edge. It centres around a classic sociopathic character, whose magnetic personality simultaneously attracts and repulses those around him. Brett Sprague (Wenham) has spent twelve months in jail for assault with a deadly weapon. None of his family visited him in the can and only his girlfriend managed to write him a letter or two.
Returning home on probation, the family appears happy to see him but there is a certain uneasy edge to the reunion. It's clear that things have changed. Brett's brother Glenn (Polson) has found a job and moved out with his girlfriend. His younger brother, Stevie (Hayes), has got a girl at the pub "up the duff" and she's moved into the family home. Even Brett's mum has changed her life and taken on a Maori lover they all affectionately call "Abo". The changes make Brett anxious about his apparent loss of power and he begins to take extreme measures to regain control.
As usual, the quality of Australian acting in this production is outstanding. Both Wenham and Curran starred in the stage production of The Boys and their back-to-front knowledge of heir characters produces quite a stunning result.
Collette (who plays Brett's girlfriend Michelle), first saw the stage play in 1991 and retained a personal interest in the film, particularly because it is set in the western suburbs of Sydney where she grew up.
Undoubtedly it's precisely the film's portrayal of the stereotyped "westie" (uneducated, dope smoking criminal layabouts) which is bound to set some Sydney tempers flaring.
In many ways, what The Boys sets out to achieve has already been done (in a much more enticing and palatable form) in Idiot Box.As a character study of a sociopath, there's no doubt it's a very thorough story, however the rhyme and reason of someone with this personality disorder is somewhat arbitrary and in many ways, unfortunately, so is the meaning of the film. ---Melissa Bolliger