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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.43%
Worth A Look71.43%
Average: 2.86%
Pretty Bad: 2.86%
Total Crap: 11.43%

3 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Dirty Deeds (2002)
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by Stephen Groenewegen

4 stars

Dirty Deeds is a loud, colourfully vulgar story about the Sydney underworld circa 1969.

Two Chicago mafia men (John Goodman, Felix Williamson) want to muscle in on a neatly profitable poker machine scam run by Barry Ryan (Bryan Brown). Ryanís nephew, Darcy (Sam Worthington), returns from the Vietnam War around the same time. Heís aware that the world is changing and wants a part of it, but he also knows Australiaís still lagging behind the action.

David Caesarís direction is as brash and bold as his writing is deft. There are groovy split screens aplenty - Caesar and cinematographer Geoffrey Hall recall the look of films contemporary to 1969, like Norman Jewisonís The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). The storylines neatly dovetail, but I found the ending overly schematic. Dirty Deeds is often very funny, and thereís a playfulness behind the garish 60s costume (Tess Schofield) and production design (Chris Kennedy).

All the performances are excellent, without startling. Among the older generation, Brown is commanding, Toni Collette hilarious as his no-nonsense wife and Sam Neill amusingly laidback as a corrupt cop. Sam Worthington delivers on the star promise of Bootmen (after a wasted role in Hartís War) and Kestie Morassi is likeable in her first film role.

Although Dirty Deeds is a lot more polished and accomplished than The Hard Word, I didnít feel as involved with the characters. None of them are lovable losers; everyoneís wise to what they want and calculating enough to go after it. Which may be more realistic for people part of, or circling, the criminal subculture but itís also distancing.

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originally posted: 09/19/02 08:00:18
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/02/08 charles really nice movie... watch it and you will not regret! 5 STARS - Awesome 5 stars
8/19/05 Shelly great cinematograpy and characterization, a bit predictable 4 stars
5/19/05 ABomb Who is Caesar blowing? How does he keep getting money? All his films are flops! And suck. 1 stars
4/04/05 John Bale True blue Ocka comedy thriller, Brown in top form has a ball. Goodman not far behind. 4 stars
1/14/05 Lance So the big climax is...some pigs being shot? David Caesar is our worst director, bar none. 1 stars
11/02/04 CraigA I've been away from Oz since 1967 and the film's period detail is spot on 4 stars
10/23/04 LilyM So dull I couldn't follow most of it. Picks up towards the end though. 2 stars
8/07/04 A.J. Stanson Fun, although instantly forgetable 4 stars
11/17/03 Corky An odd blend of humor and violence; enjoyable but instantly forgettable. 3 stars
10/02/03 b b 5 stars
8/04/03 Steve H A great movie, although many non-aussies may not be able to fully appreciate it!! 5 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones Bryan Brown Bores us to sleep at the Bourbon and Beef 1 stars
1/16/03 John Bale Homegrown "Cinema Noir" this gritty Aussie crime drama with a sense of humour. Brown great! 4 stars
11/02/02 John Boxall A fine movie 5 stars
10/27/02 Philip Nice bit of Aussie retro, even if a bit predictable. Good to see Bryan Brown back. 4 stars
9/22/02 Vincent Mancini An okay movie with an overly happy ending 4 stars
8/29/02 Dean Slow and boring. Enficising the aussie accent, was way over the top. 1 stars
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Directed by
  David Caesar

Written by
  David Caesar

  Bryan Brown
  Toni Collette
  John Goodman
  Sam Neill
  Sam Worthington
  Kestie Morassi

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