Thereís one really great scene in Bootmen, dancer/choreographer Dein Perryís first feature as director. Sean (Adam Garcia) is trying to reunite his blue collar mates in a tap-dancing group. Colin (Andrew Kaluski) is giving an impromptu audition in a
toilet block.To prove heís still got it, Colin dances between the metal toilets; tapping against them. As his energy increases, heís up on top of the toilets - boots clashing on the closed lids - before he comes crashing through one of the seats. Itís funny, itís spontaneous, thereís some great dancing and Kaluski is a convincing actor (as well as a fantastic dancer). Unfortunately, itís about the only time humour, spontaneity, great acting and dancing combine in Bootmen.
Tap Dogs are a dancing sensation, an evolving line-up of men who dance in work boots with steel taps. They wear the Australian blue-collar uniform of jeans, singlet and flannelette shirt. I think Perry was trying to show us the milieu Tap Dogs came out of (and he should know, since he was the force behind them). But thereís way too much cliched story and not enough dancing to engage our interest. And giving the Bootmen a star (Adam Garcia) is also a mistake; it goes against the larrikin image of the half-dozen Australian mates dancing together as a team. Especially since Garcia carries the film mostly on charisma and dancing ability. Sam Worthington is far more assured as his brother, but is lumbered with the silliest sub-plot.The steel-town of Newcastle is given a full-fantasy workover by production designer Murray Picknett and cinematographer Steve Mason. Instead, they should have tried to capture some of the cityís grittiness. It might have made these menís obstacles more
real; more worthwhile cheering on.