Daniel Nettheim's chosen an overly familiar genre for his first outing as director, but there are dilemmas and truths in Angst that most can identify with.Dean, Jade and Ian are all in their twenties, sharing a dingy flat in inner-city Kings Cross. While Jade (Jessica Napier) is happily, defiantly unemployed, Dean (Sam Lewis) and Ian (Justin Smith) feel caught in a rut. Dean longs to get over Jade and find a new girlfriend; Ian wants to be a stand-up comic. But they need to abandon their pretensions, view life from a new perspective and take risks, before there can be any hope of success.
Screenwriter Anthony O'Connor spends too long introducing his characters; we get to know them much better once the individual stories begin to unfold. In its stride, Angst is kind of like Love and Other Catastrophes (the Australian pinnacle of this genre), without students. Nettheim and O'Connor love these characters, but they're not afraid to laugh at them. That's important, since it helps the audience relax in their company too.
Of the actors, I was especially taken with Justin Smith whose Ian has a relaxed rapport with Lewis' uptight Dean - they share a believable friendship. His section of the film has greatest resonance. Ian must confront the westie mates he left behind in the suburbs. Also very good are Luke Lennox as the street kid befirended by Jade, and Abi Tucker as Dean's new goth girlfriend. It's a terrific ensemble.Technically, the film looks and sounds good and has all the makings of a cult hit, so long as it can find its audience.