this list turned into Australian films

by black_and_red | created - 31 Jul 2013 | updated - 03 Aug 2013 | Public

I was actually trying to make a vague list of like, a bunch of stuff that I've seen and never remember that I've seen, for no particular reason. Then I was trying to list Australian films, and now it's become a thing.

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1. Beneath Clouds (2002)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Lena, the light-skinned daughter of an Aboriginal mother and Irish father and Vaughn, a Murri boy doing time in a minimum security prison in North West NSW. Dramatic events ... See full summary »

Director: Ivan Sen | Stars: Dannielle Hall, Damian Pitt, Jenna Lee Connors, Terry Dahlstron

Votes: 835

Australian. I rate this story and feel like it's a far more subtle and complex treatment of contemporary indigeneous youth than some others. But there aren't many such films.

The standard film concerning indigenous Australians which people tend to have seen is Phillip Noyce's Rabbitproof Fence, based on past, rather than present injustice. Ivan Sen's work is something else entirely different; realist, character-driven independent drama. It's perhaps a poorly-judged comparison on my part, but worth pointing out, since this film seems to have passed under the radar, and that's a shame, because it's beautifully wrought.

Ivan Sen created compelling trajectories for both his characters, with an unusual young female lead in particular. The interplay between these characters leaves you longing for more and wondering what happens to them long after the film has ended. This was apparently based on an earlier short film created by Sen, with different actors.

I seem to recall that it had a moving, minimal soundtrack.

2. The Proposition (2005)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Western

7.4
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73 Metascore

A lawman apprehends a notorious outlaw and gives him nine days to kill his older brother, or else they'll execute his younger brother.

Director: John Hillcoat | Stars: Ray Winstone, Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, Richard Wilson

Votes: 45,216 | Gross: $1.90M

Australian. Written and scored by Nick Cave (but did he direct it or would it have been John Hillcoat?). It's like an Australian Western, and it's good storytelling and beautifully acted. The only part I can remember disliking was a somewhat cloying moment with Emily Watson in her nightgown, but I love her.

3. Animal Kingdom (2010)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
83 Metascore

A seventeen year-old navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.

Director: David Michôd | Stars: James Frecheville, Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Bryce Lindemann

Votes: 48,840 | Gross: $1.04M

Australian. I think this is good minimalist crime drama with class performances. Ben Mendolssohn is frighteningly real. Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver and Guy Pearce are also believable, but the main kid is great. Nice storytelling - it's got that mundane, suburban context which makes it all the more disturbing. I'll put it another way - I believed this story.

4. Head On (1998)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance

6.4
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A 19 year old Greek Australian youth struggles with his sexual identity and has one clumsy heterosexual and several homosexual encounters.

Director: Ana Kokkinos | Stars: Alex Dimitriades, Julian Garner, Elena Mandalis, Tony Nikolakopoulos

Votes: 3,524 | Gross: $0.38M

Australian. Screenplay by Christos Tsolkias, directed by Ana Kokkinakis. Alex Demitriades just kills this performance (I mean, in the good sense) - in fact, I think of it as his best.

5. Bliss (1985)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Drama

7.0
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After a near-death experience, a man wonders if he actually did die and is now in Hell.

Director: Ray Lawrence | Stars: Barry Otto, Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Gia Carides

Votes: 1,129 | Gross: $0.66M

Australian. I think this is based on a book by Peter Carey. I like Bliss.

6. Lake Mungo (2008)

R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

6.1
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A supernatural drama about grief.

Director: Joel Anderson | Stars: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker

Votes: 11,235

Australian. This got silly at a certain point, but I admit there were points where it scared the crap out of me, which a lot of films of this nature never will. I think this is actually quite well executed at certain points. It loses its momentum, but what it had there for a while was pretty frightening in my opinion.

7. Praise (1998)

98 min | Drama

6.9
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79 Metascore

An unfocused twentysomething (Peter Fenton) moves in with a former co-worker (Sacha Holder), who is suffering from low self-esteem because of her weight, looks, and a case of eczema. Their ... See full summary »

Director: John Curran | Stars: Peter Fenton, Sacha Horler, Marta Dusseldorp, Ray Bull

Votes: 523 | Gross: $0.03M

Australian. Based on a good book, can't remember the name of the author off the top of my head, nor the names of the actors, but it's all good. A bit bleak, but truthful.

8. Dogs in Space (1986)

R | 103 min | Drama

6.6
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The film is set in a house occupied by a collection of social misfits. The main storyline is that of a strange musician's relationship with a girl, their drug use and his band. These events... See full summary »

Director: Richard Lowenstein | Stars: Michael Hutchence, Saskia Post, Nique Needles, Deanna Bond

Votes: 958

Australian. Rewatched Dogs in Space recently, it's a bit silly like all films that try to encapsulate subculture, but it has nostalgic value. Note that several of the Australian films listed so far seem to deal with drugdealing and/or ODs, particularly related to smack! But heroin is so passe...

9. The Tracker (2002)

90 min | Drama, History, Western

7.5
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71 Metascore

It's 1922; somewhere in Australia. When a Native Australian man is accused of murdering a white woman, three white men (The Fanatic, The Follower and The Veteran) are given the mission of ... See full summary »

Director: Rolf de Heer | Stars: David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau, Grant Page

Votes: 1,896

Australian. Thought this was great.

10. Lantana (2001)

R | 121 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

7.3
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84 Metascore

The relationships of four couples unravel after the discovery of a young woman's body in Lantana bush in suburban Sydney.

Director: Ray Lawrence | Stars: Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Rachael Blake, Kerry Armstrong

Votes: 17,187 | Gross: $4.46M

Australian. There's something I don't care for when it comes to Lantana, but I find it hard to say what it is. It's a brooding study of relationships, a murder mystery. It's well done though. I can't deny it's a good film and it makes great use of place. Also, the actor who plays Jane is one of my favourites.

11. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Music

7.5
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68 Metascore

Two drag performers and a transgender woman travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.

Director: Stephan Elliott | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp, Rebel Penfold-Russell

Votes: 39,926 | Gross: $11.22M

Australian, and although it tends to fall into a category of given films that everyone has seen and liked over here, and arguably there have been a lot of Australian "character" films of a comedic nature moreso than serious drama, Priscilla is an entertaining and uplifting movie.

12. Muriel's Wedding (1994)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
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63 Metascore

A young social outcast in Australia steals money from her parents to finance a vacation where she hopes to find happiness, and perhaps love.

Director: P.J. Hogan | Stars: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter, Sophie Lee

Votes: 29,986 | Gross: $15.19M

Australian. It's easy to be indifferent to Muriel's Wedding these days as it falls into the same category of Priscilla and Kath and Kim - where they have deliberately played up the kitsch and/or banal, the film gets a cult following, but then spawns a lot of annoying kitsch banality. ("Oh Muriel!", "look at moiiie" etc). But, Rachel Griffiths in particular is great in this, and Toni Collette is also great. Lovely redemptive comedy.

13. Introducing the Dwights (2007)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama

6.5
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50 Metascore

The shy son of an aging comedienne tries to find a balance between his demanding home life, his new girlfriend, and his mother's second chance at fame.

Director: Cherie Nowlan | Stars: Brenda Blethyn, Khan Chittenden, Emma Booth, Rebecca Gibney

Votes: 1,779 | Gross: $0.38M

Australian. This film seems to have been overlooked, and that's a shame. It's a good story.

14. Peaches (2004)

109 min | Drama

6.4
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This is the story of teenage girl Steph, who is brought up by her fiery aunt Jude after her pregnant mother Jass and Vietnamese father are killed in a car crash. The arrival of her late ... See full summary »

Director: Craig Monahan | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Jacqueline McKenzie, Emma Lung, Matthew Le Nevez

Votes: 438

Australian. The main character in this really annoyed me, and I thought it was overall a bit creepy, but I love a bit of Hugo Weaving, so.

15. Proof (2005)

PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Mystery

6.8
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64 Metascore

The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students, who wants to search through his papers, and her estranged sister, who shows up to help settle his affairs.

Director: John Madden | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal

Votes: 38,748 | Gross: $7.52M

Hang on. That doesn't look like the right image for Proof or the year. Damn it. Where is Hugo Weaving?

16. Head-On (2004)

R | 121 min | Drama, Romance

8.0
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78 Metascore

With the intention to break free from the strict familial restrictions, a suicidal young woman sets up a marriage of convenience with a forty-year-old addict, an act that will lead to an outburst of envious love.

Director: Fatih Akin | Stars: Birol Ünel, Sibel Kekilli, Güven Kiraç, Zarah Jane McKenzie

Votes: 43,969

Got this mixed up with the other Head On, but I've watched this too - Fatih Akin was the writer/director of this one, it's Turkish/German. There were things I liked about this film, and things I didn't like. I particularly didn't like the end, but that's okay. Someone I was close with REALLY liked this, I just didn't so much.

17. Idiot Box (1996)

83 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

6.5
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Looking for the fast track out of suburban hell, two natural born losers scheme an impossible heist. Mick is slack, cynical, and most of all, unemployed. He masterminds the plan while Kev, ... See full summary »

Director: David Caesar | Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Jeremy Sims, John Polson, Graeme Blundell

Votes: 709

Australian. Very idiosyncratic, lots of vernacular and very funny. Won't forget a particular scene (the koala suit).

18. Somersault (2004)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Romance

6.8
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73 Metascore

A young girl flees her hometown and arrives in the Australian Alps, where new experiences help her learn the differences between sex and love.

Director: Cate Shortland | Stars: Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington, Lynette Curran, Damian de Montemas

Votes: 6,654 | Gross: $0.09M

Australian. Soundtrack by Decoder Ring. Look, I got wrapped up in the vulnerability of Abbie Cornish's flawed character while I was in the process of watching this; she's beautiful, but she's also intensely alone and kind of constantly shooting herself in the foot. However, later, I can recall feeling a bit irritated by the experience. But I think this film has lots of merits; not least that it's from the point of view of an alienated young woman, that the backdrop is fairly mundane and yet it's full of small details, complemented by the soundtrack.

19. Ten Canoes (2006)

Unrated | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

7.0
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82 Metascore

A story within a story. In Australia's Northern Territory, a man tells us one of the stories of his people and his land. It's a story of an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and ... See full summary »

Directors: Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr | Stars: Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil, Richard Birrinbirrin, Peter Minygululu

Votes: 3,957 | Gross: $0.28M

Australian. Rolf de Heer. I like the start of Ten Canoes a lot, but I seem to recall it starting to fade on me at a certain point. Still, it's the only film of its kind I can think of (completely in an indigeneous language, for one thing) and definitely worth checking out.

20. Samson and Delilah (2009)

101 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
71 Metascore

Samson and Delilah's world is small- an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, ... See full summary »

Director: Warwick Thornton | Stars: Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson, Mitjili Napanangka Gibson, Scott Thornton

Votes: 2,791

I know someone who worked on this. However, I'm not sure I enjoyed it. I know it is supposed to be a journey into bleakness and then redemption, but I mainly felt the bleakness and not so much the redemption, and I thought it was problematic in certain ways.

21. Jindabyne (2006)

R | 123 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.3
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65 Metascore

Stewart Kane, an Irishman living in the Australian town of Jindabyne, is on a fishing trip in isolated hill country with three other men when they discover the body of a murdered girl in ... See full summary »

Director: Ray Lawrence | Stars: Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne, John Howard, Stelios Yiakmis

Votes: 5,964 | Gross: $0.40M

Australian. My memory is of lots of atmospheric suspense without it really going anywhere, and then I seem to recall being somewhat annoyed by the interplay of personal relationships, even though the actors are good.

22. Oyster Farmer (2004)

91 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

6.6
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51 Metascore

A love story about a young man who runs away up an isolated Australian river and gets a job with eighth generation oyster famers.

Director: Anna Reeves | Stars: Alex O'Loughlin, Jim Norton, Diana Glenn, David Field

Votes: 1,118

23. Mullet (2001)

89 min | Comedy, Drama

6.0
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A dark-sheep type of man returns to his hometown after a prolonged absence. While he's been gone ludicrous rumours have spread about his whereabouts. Is he a big footy player or is he a ... See full summary »

Director: David Caesar | Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Susie Porter, Andrew S. Gilbert, Belinda McClory

Votes: 432

I can't remember much about this. But I do like Ben Mendolssohn a lot (if I have spelled his name right).

24. Little Fish (2005)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
77 Metascore

Set in the Little Saigon district outside of Sydney, a woman (Blanchett) trying to escape her past becomes embroiled in a drug deal.

Director: Rowan Woods | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving, Martin Henderson

Votes: 7,675 | Gross: $0.01M

Australian film; good performances. I'm not sure I liked Little Fish that much but I'm not sure I can articulate why. I usually enjoy Cate Blanchett a lot more than this. It was well scripted and Noni Hazelhurst's performance was decent (a bit challenging for me as I associate her with Playschool and home improvement shows, but I admit it). But - perhaps it was a bit bleak without quite enough depth, beauty or redemption for me personally?

25. Look Both Ways (2005)

PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
64 Metascore

During one unusually hot and tragic weekend, four people struggle after hearing some life-changing news, this in turn brings them together.

Director: Sarah Watt | Stars: Mary Kostakidis, Justine Clarke, Daniela Farinacci, Robbie Hoad

Votes: 2,835 | Gross: $0.10M

Australian. Not a favourite of mine, but I like the way it deals with the vulnerability of the human body, anxiety and falling in love.

26. The Book of Revelation (2006)

Unrated | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

5.4
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An erotic mystery about power and sex, the entanglement of victim and perpetrator, and a man's struggle to regain his lost self.

Director: Ana Kokkinos | Stars: Tom Long, Greta Scacchi, Colin Friels, Deborah Mailman

Votes: 1,255

Australian. One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Confirmed by my co-watchee. It's actually by the same woman who directed Head On - Ana Kokkinakis, I think it is, if I"m not mistaken.

27. My Year Without Sex (2009)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

5.8
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A tender story from Australia highlights the realistic ups and downs of an Australian family in the year following a parent's emergency medical procedure.

Director: Sarah Watt | Stars: Portia Bradley, Jonathan Segat, Sacha Horler, Matt Day

Votes: 838 | Gross: $0.00M

Australian. I think it had an interesting premise in a certain way, and I generally like Sascha ??, but I could barely stand this, I have to admit, on various levels. Did not work for me at all.

28. Flynn (1993)

R | 95 min | Biography, Drama

5.2
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A biographical movie on the film star's early life before Hollywood fame.

Director: Frank Howson | Stars: Guy Pearce, Steven Berkoff, Claudia Karvan, John Savage

Votes: 253

Australian. I just remembered this. It's not very good, but it's interesting to see the young Guy Pearce, who I think had probably been on the likes of Neighbours. He's developed so much as an actor, and is now one of my favourites.

29. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Mystery

7.6
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During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse

Votes: 27,530 | Gross: $0.08M

Australian. Renowned as a creepy (if dated looking) film; I don't think I've seen all of it.

30. Puberty Blues (1981)

R | 87 min | Comedy, Drama

5.8
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The mating rituals of two teenage surf chicks from the southern suburbs of Sydney.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Nell Schofield, Jad Capelja, Jeffrey Rhoe, Tony Hughes

Votes: 928 | Gross: $0.24M

Australian. Based on a good book by Kathy Lette. Young women might still find a lot to relate to.

31. Irresistible (2006)

R | 103 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

5.8
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A wife and mother is consumed by the thought that her husband's co-worker is trying to win him away from her and their family.

Director: Ann Turner | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Emily Blunt, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell

Votes: 5,121

Australian, and a horribly bad straight-to-dvd type film even though it has Emily Blunt and Susan Sarandon. I don't really like Sam Neill and I don't mind if that's controversial.

32. Candy (2006)

R | 108 min | Drama, Romance

7.3
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57 Metascore

A poet falls in love with an art student who gravitates to his bohemian lifestyle -- and his love of heroin. Hooked as much on one another as they are on the drug, their relationship alternates between states of oblivion, self-destruction, and despair.

Director: Neil Armfield | Stars: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Budge

Votes: 38,447 | Gross: $0.04M

Eh, I didn't like Candy so much, both of the characters were less than empathetic, and that wasn't because it involved drug use.

33. Ned Kelly (2003)

R | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

6.5
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56 Metascore

An innocent man becomes one of the most wanted criminals the world has ever known.

Director: Gregor Jordan | Stars: Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts

Votes: 22,983 | Gross: $0.07M

Australian. Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts together were hot.

34. Two Hands (1999)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

7.2
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A 19 year old (Heath Ledger) finds himself in debt to a local gangster (Bryan Brown) when some gang loot disappears and sets him on the run from thugs. Meanwhile two street kids start a ... See full summary »

Director: Gregor Jordan | Stars: Heath Ledger, Bryan Brown, David Field, Tom Long

Votes: 8,745

I don't think I've seen all of Two Hands. Classic Heath though.