Tag Archives: Judy Davis

Heatwave

For years the 1982 movie Heatwave has languished in the shadow of director Phillip Noyce’s more recent and successful films.

It’s a great pity. Not only is Heatwave a dark, well-made thriller that can legitimately stake a place among the small group of Australian films with genuine noir sensibility, it is politically sharp-edged without coming across as either preachy or didactic.

Heatwave is one of two Australian films based loosely on the real life disappearance in 1975 of Juanita Nielson, a prominent local activist against mass development in the colourful vice quarter of inner Sydney known as Kings Cross. The other, Donald Crombie’s The Killing of Angel of Street, appeared the previous year. So close together were the two films that at one point they were reportedly both shooting at the different ends of the same inner Sydney street.

Heatwave takes place in the lead-up to Christmas and, as the title suggests, Sydney is sweltering after successive days of high temperatures. A group of Kings Cross residents are fighting attempts to demolish their houses to make way for a giant development named Eden, financed by businessman Peter Houseman (Chris Haywood).

For three years, young firebrand Kate Dean (Judy Davis) and Mary Ford, editor of the community newspaper, have led local opposition to Eden.… Read more