Carl Fitzgerald is down-on-his-luck until he meets Sophie, a beautiful Greek girl. He gets a job as a cook, but accidentally kills fellow worker Mustafa. He turns to his unscrupulous best ... See full summary »
In the tradition of Sunday Too Far Away (1975), this independent film is based on the classic Australian play by John Power. Pic tells the story of a group of miners living in a camp in outback Australia. They swear, brawl, gamble, and drink heavily. Central to the story is the conflict between Tarzan, the authoritarian group leader and cocky loud-mouth wisecracking Pansy. This results in a bare-knuckle punch-up for the movie's denouement. Exteriors filmed in Andamooka, South Australia. Written by
Tensions simmer between a group of miners working in the Australian outback in this downbeat but engaging human drama. In writing and directing the material, Tim Burstall never quite manages to disguise the material's stage play roots with minimal locations and very few outdoor shots, however, the sense of claustrophobia that results from this often works to the film's advantage. The characters genuinely seem suffocated by their lack of recreational options and the film features perhaps the most intense card game ever committed to screen outside of 'The Cincinnati Kid' as the oldest miner finds himself in a poker showdown with a young upstart. Michael Duffield is superb as the elderly miner in question, waxing poetic about money and gambling, and there is a lot to like in how the others support him, not so much because they respect him but rather because they see him as what they themselves might end up like in years to come. Another strong performance comes from Gerard Kennedy as the lead miner who tries to keep everyone under control, but - as is suggested - the job that they are doing is "not General Motors", and having to live, sleep and eat together, it seems inevitable that something will occur with limited opportunities for release. For such a grim and gritty tale, the film ends on an oddly upbeat note, but the drama that has played out on screen for 90 or so minutes is still hard to shake as the film depicts the less glorious aspects of working in the mines in country like Australia where mine sites tend to be extremely isolated.
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