Category Archives: Joel Edgerton

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Hear sort of blind sided me. That doesn’t happen very often.

I’d been hearing about it for a while without actually putting all the pieces around it together: an Australian made suspense, partly shot in southern Cambodia, backed by Blue Tongue Films, the outfit behind Animal Kingdom and The Square, two solid local crime films I’d favourably reviewed on this site previously.

I can’t say too much about Wish You Were Here without giving away the plot. It fits nicely into the genre of suspense film dealing with what happens when nice middle class white people go somewhere exotic and exciting, a place where they’re freed from the expectations of their everyday lives, and behave badly, with serious consequences for their mental and physical health.

In this instance, the place is the tourist beach resort of Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s southern coast. The nice middle class people are two couples, pregnant Alice (Felicity Price) and her husband Dave (Blue Tongue regular Joel Edgerton), and Alice’s Younger sister Steph (Teresa Palmer) and her charming and mysterious boyfriend Jeremy (Antony Starr).

Their exciting, carefree holiday adventure is brilliantly established in the first moments of the film, culminating in a drug fuelled dance party. Next thing we see is Dave staggering half naked and blood stained through the harsh dawn light.… Read more

Animal Kingdom

There’ll come a day when the Australian film and television industry will have to create a special award for Melbourne’s crime families in recognition of their services in providing so much rich material for screenwriters. Present to accept the award will be whatever members of the Pettingill family who are not dead or incarcerated.

For those readers not familiar with the name, the Pettingill family were Melbourne’s most notorious crime family. They were involved in drug dealing, murder and armed robbery. Two of the sons stood trial in 1998 for the shooting of a couple of Victorian police officers. They were acquitted but are still widely suspected of committing the killings.

Their exploits have also formed the basis for some of the country’s best crime television, including the ABC series Janus and Phoenix, and more recently the film, Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom is the best known of the three Australian crime films released in 2010. Unusually for an Australian film, not only has it received international critical acclaim (including a Golden Globes nomination for actress Jacki Weaver),  it was a success locally.

Most interestingly, Animal Kingdom, along with Red Hill and The Horseman, the two other local crime releases in 2010, were all made by first time film directors, a big improvement on the lackluster Australian crime cinema scene in 2009.… Read more

The Square: small town noir Australian style

Tales of money, betrayal, lust and murder set in the underbelly of rural small town life are a major thematic strand of film noir. Australia’s contribution to this, released locally to mixed reviews in 2008, is The Square.

The location selected by first time director and writer Nash Edgerton is the central coast of New South Wales, where the laid back life-style and stunning countryside exist side by side with pockets of deep poverty and a highly casualised workforce.

The opening scene of The Square takes place at dawn. Two people are having sex in the back seat of a car to the accompanying drone of cars crossing a nearby overpass. They finish, pausing long enough for us to notice their wedding rings, before going their separate ways.

The man, Ray, pulls into a clearing in the middle of thick bushland and enters the portable office from which he is supervising the construction of a resort for honeymooners. The young woman, Carla, drives to her job in a hairdressing parlour.

Before long, Ray is getting a hard time down from Gil, the developer (long time Australian actor, Bill Hunter) for failing to keep costs down. There’s no need for anything fancy, Gil tells him, all they are building is a place were “couples can root in Jacuzzis”.… Read more