If Australia has come close to producing a punk film, Hard Knocks is it. Its a film driven by its music soundtrack full of classic Australian rock music which may not seem "punk" in the limited US or UK sense, but bares its punk teeth more clearly in terms of scripting and plot. (I'd define punk more in terms of alternative living/critique of society rather than as fashion or sound as these are always localised) Its the tale of a young woman named Samantha who is trying to fathom how to live after a life of petty crime sees her locked up in a detention centre. Once freed, she pursues life as a model but can't escape her roots or critical sense of self and society. Tracy Mann is exceptionally powerful in showing the punk girl turned small-scale fashion model and her struggle to move forward in a society filled with unemployment and increasing despair and social disparity. Its also the story of a survivor doing the best she can to be true to herself. Famous Australian singer Deborah Conway appears as a fellow model and Bill Hunter (Muriels Wedding, Priscilla) plays a mean cop. The cast is chock full of great Australian performers like Max Cullen. Its a strong dramatic piece and offers a fascinating snapshot of Australia at the turn of the 70s/80s. A very local punk film with good characterisation and a sharp political edge.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?