Author Archives: Andrew Nette

The noir genius of Mr Inbetween

Late year I chaired a panel in which several American crime writers discussed their most memorable discoveries in terms of noir television and film during the various COVID lockdowns we have all endured. As the moderator I did not get any time to discuss my own discovery, but if I had it would have been the Australian/American television production, Mr Inbetween.

My first piece for the US CrimeReads site for 2023 is a love letter to one of my favourite Australian television shows, Mr InBetween. You can read it in full on their site at this link.… Read more

My cultural highlights of 2022

The end of the year nears. That means it is time for my year cultural highlights of 2022. So, without further introduction, let’s get into it.

Film

Possibly the best new release I saw in the past 12 months was Iranian director Ali Abbasi’s The Holy Spider (2022). The story of a young female journalist (a powerhouse performance by Zar Amir-Ebrahimi) investigating a religious serial killer in a rural Iranian city, little did I know when I saw it as part of Melbourne International Film Festival in September that it’s damning commentary on the male dominated nature of Iranian society, would find such a strong real world echo in the female led protest movement shaking the country to its foundations today. While The Holy Spider is not for the faint hearted, its horror is brilliantly conveyed through show don’t tell storytelling. Seriously, a lot of directors could learn from watching this film that you don’t always have to hit the audience over the head with a narrative sledgehammer.

Two other 2022 releases make my best of film list for the year. The first is Emily the Criminal. This is a whip smart neo noir about a young woman who falls into crime, featuring Aubrey Plaza in the lead role. I call it a millennial revenge film, which I think is THE upcoming crime genre with a bullet.… Read more

Wake in Fright is a Christmas film

As we dive into the Yuletide season, this is just a quick reminder that Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 film Wake In Fright definitely qualifies as a Christmas film.

I recently took part in a discussion on Kotcheff’s amazing film for the Journey’s Into Darkness film discussion group in the US. I talked about what Wake In Fright says about Australia in 1971 and now, conceptions of masculinity, and urban Australians uneasy relationship with the outback and our bloody colonial past. We also discussed how the film functions as a crime film, and outback noir and an Australian folk horror. You can watch the talk in full on Youtube here.

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Projection Booth podcast #595: Nightmare Alley (1947)

For your Noirvember listening pleasure, the latest episode of Projection Booth Podcast is on the 1947 film noir, Nightmare Alley. I join Projection Booth host Mike White & film critic Samm Deighan to talk about the film, the William Lindsay Gresham book it is based on, and the 2021 reboot. We also discuss carnival noir & clairvoyants in noir film & I did a particular shout out to Bryan Forbes’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964). We also talked a fair bit about sex: how much sex Stanton Carlisle gets in the 1947 film version (because no one else ever seems to) and how sexy that version is generally, especially compared to the 2021 reboot.

You can listen to the episode in full at this link.Read more

Book Review: We Are the Mutants – The Battle for Hollywood from Rosemary’s Baby to Lethal Weapon

Is there anything new left to say about the period of American film production from the late 1960s to the early 1980s?

This is the period that began with the so-called ‘New Hollywood’ and continued with its collapse under the weight of its own cinematic hubris and excess, bumped along considerably by the 1977 release of Star Wars, after which the blockbuster franchise, with its lucrative pre-sold merchandising deals, evolved into the majority of what now passes for the American film industry. Of course, this is just one facet of the story. Influencing this trajectory was Vietnam, the rise and fall of the counterculture, the election of Ronald Reagan and the rise of neoliberalism.

To say something different about all of this is a tough task. But it is is precisely the aim of We are the Mutants: The Battle for Hollywood from Rosemary’s Baby to Lethal Weapon. That the book largely succeeds in its mission is due to a quality I initially found hard to define until I hit on a way to do so by way of a comparison. The book reminds me of the work of British documentary maker Adam Curtis, particularly his most recent effort, I Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World.… Read more