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Wake in Fright is the story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But his one night stretches to five and he plunges headlong toward his own destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a rifle with one bullet left... Written by
This is one of my favourite films of all time and I'm not surprised when I hear of others who also see it as one of their favourites (including singer Nick Cave and Robert Mitchum). Detailing the life of a city school teacher stuck in an Australian outback town, this movie shows in great detail the ugly side of Australian country life that the Australian tourist authorities attempt to hide. Excellent performances by all the actors, including Donald Pleasance, Jack Thompson, John Mellion and the legendary Australian character actor Chips Rafferty (in his final film) help give the film a very gritty "real" texture.
Known as "Wake in Fright" in Australia, the film is still powerful nearly thirty years after it was made, although viewers unaccustomed to the Australian lingo may need an Australian strine dictionary to get them through some scenes. I saw this film with a Polish friend who was so overawed by the film and wanted to get a copy of the movie to take back to Poland and show it commercially there.
As an interesting side note, at the end of the film, in the spot usually reserved for the caption "No animals were harmed in the filming of this movie" is instead a note stating that the kangaroos killed during the making of the movie were killed as part of an official kangaroo culling programme.
See this movie if you can.
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