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Fresh Air (1999)

Reviewed By Filmink Magazine (owes us money)
Posted 06/19/99 00:58:19

"90 minutes of youthful confusion and enthusiasm."
3 stars (Average)

A couple moves into a house with another girl. They talk, think and try to grapple with their uncertain futures. They're three very different people yet share a house with a modicum of respect for each other. They all want something out of life, but they don't know exactly what, so they help each other out, protest about things they don't truly believe in, join bands, paint, publish zines, and just live from day to day. That's the life of the inner-city Sydney living twenty-something according to video clip maker, now writer/director of the first AFC/SBS Independent Million Dollar Movie, Neil Mansfield.

As you could probably tell, Fresh Air doesn't have a conventional storyline. There is a beginning, but not much of an end. Life will go on for these characters, it's just that we've been privy to 90 minutes of their youthful confusion and enthusiasm, or lack thereof.

The performances ring true, especially from feature film newcomer Carter as E. Her character's exuberance is injected with the right balance of chic and naivete, and she steals the film from the more experienced Garner. Despite the fact that it was written by a male, the film's biggest downfall are its blokes.

Garner's insecure, unsure; wussy boyfriend Jack (Mimica) takes up a lot of time in the film, though you never understand his motivation. He quits his job but still works there, he won't get out of a car to squish a spider and he disappears on a journey of self-discovery only to return with no idea. Maybe Mansfield is making a comment about contemporary males but then he throws in yuppie adman Hunter (Simon Lyndon) into the mix and it's all downhill from there.

Admirable in its audacious use of narrative cut-and-paste, Fresh Air is like having phone sex in the Marrickville share household where it's set - mostly really enjoyable but then a plane flies over and you're forced to start again. ---Dov Kornits

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