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Heavy Cutting And Erratic Script Overrides A Pleasing Start.

Author: rsoonsa ( from Mountain Mesa, California
27 May 2006

This Australian produced film, set in and about Canberra, initially develops a high level of interest for a viewer, thanks to sharply observed sequences, with proper attention to continuity and able work by cast and crew members, only to collapse utterly, in the main because of overmuch cutting, into a choppy and vague narrative that fails to leave an understandable design for the motives behind the actions of the principal characters. Jimmy Flemming (Eric Oldfield), owner of a surfing supply store in Canberra, has been receiving anonymously sent death threats by post, and after he is severely beaten near his business by a band of young ruffians for no apparent reason, he appeals for assistance to his friend Harry Ferguson (Charles Tingwell) who offers Jimmie and his wife Angela (Robyn Gibbes) sanctuary at his beachfront cottage where it is believed that the Flemmings will be secure. Flemming accepts and Harry and his wife Grace (Elaine Lee) drive the young couple to the cottage where they assist the latter in "going to ground" for an unplanned vacation. However, a motorcycle riding assassin has followed them to their hideaway, where he promptly makes attempts upon their lives, until the four, along with a local shopkeeper, are trapped inside the residence because the Ferguson automobile is destroyed by dynamite placed in it by their would-be killer, and events become increasingly ugly for the harboured group. The screenplay initially indicates in engrossing style that a cunning puzzle might be in the offing, but as the film advances its plot weakens, becoming riddled with holes as failures of logic become rampant. The splendid cinematographic skills of Russell Boyd, seamless editing and montage from Rod Hay, and top-flight sound quality also buoy initial segments of the affair, but as the scenario collapses and wholesale cutting eliminates elements essential for viewer comprehension, nothing remains but confusion, a viewer holding unanswered questions concerning the action taking place upon the screen. Elaine Lee gathers in acting honours for her creative turn as the compromising wife of Harry Ferguson.

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