|Index||8 reviews in total|
Generally entertaining and interesting screen portrayal of the life and
times of Australia's most notorious underworld figure.
David Atkinson did a fine job of capturing the true essence of Squizzy Taylor and there was some excellent support from the rest of the cast as well.
The film has a good look about it and seems to have been fairly well researched.
The only minor fault that I could spot came near the end. In the scene where Taylor emerges from his flat to be driven to his showdown with Cudmore. Those with an interest in architectural history will immediately detect that the building in question obviously dates from a later period than the 1920s. But, that it definitely nit picking.
On the whole,this production was a credit to all concerned.
Squizzy Taylor is the Bonnie & Clyde of Australian films. It is set in
1920's Melbourne, Squizzy Taylor is probably the most nutorius gangster of
This film was the combination of a talented Australian cast. Though afterwards he did no films, David Atkins shines as Squizzy Taylor and he managed to pull of a near perfect performance. Derry Hinch's former wife, Jackie Weaver, had already shown her talent before appearing in Taylor and it is little reason to wonder why her character of Dolly was so captivating.
1920's Melbourne was pulled of perfectly by the production company. Filming around Melbourne proved a great success, for those who know Melbourne much of its original architecture can still be found throughout the city making it easy to film such a periodical film. It is little wonder that Logan Brewer was nominated for a AFI Award for his work in production of the movie.
This film was made a year after Mel Gibson's famous "Gallipoli" and its influences can definitely be seen in Squizzy Taylor.
It isn't a movie for kids as it often deals with adult concepts. But for someone who enjoyed Bonnie & Clyde or other Australian films such as Gallipoli it's a must see!
Having a "squiz" is Oz slang for looking at something. SQUIZZY TAYLOR is a dark and slightly menacing minor gangster film with a very good cast and well researched production values. Set in the 1920s and part of a time Australian film makers love making films about (KITTY AND THE BAGMAN, CADDIE etc) SQUIZZY TAYLOR was a ratty tough guy not unlike a mini Cagney hoodlum. Atkins, a stage and screen dancer by trade made a strong actor and was convincing enough not to get rapped for this serious attempt. One of the problems with a lot of 70s/80s Oz pix is that our voices come across as squeaky and funny to International audiences. Good voice coaching had never been a big part of many good Australian films and it is often the one major flaw that has never been properly corrected. I would unfortunately suggest that listening to Atkins threaten everyone else here is a bit mousey. It sounds like a high school production of GUYS AND DOLLS. Which is a pity because overall it is a good small gangster film about a real little tough guy who was a real criminal of Australia's sly grog days in the pre depression snazzy 20s. Deserves a DVD release and a new audience. Would probably work quite well to a new generation.
Moderately entertaining drama, detailing the life of a gangster in
1920s Melbourne. Interesting mostly from an historic perspective.
However, not very compelling. Is pretty much a blow-by-blow biopic, with very little in the way of background or motivations. Character elaboration is basic. Ending is overly abrupt.
Performances are so-so. David Atkins is okay as Squizzy Taylor. Kacki Weaver had yet to find the form which saw her receive Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook. Her performance is a touch irritating, in fact.
As mentioned, interesting mostly from an historic perspective, especially if you want a glimpse into 1920s Australia.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having no knowledge of squizzy taylor beforehand but having a mild
fascination with Australian culture i was able to appreciate the film
but not having any background knowledge i didn't fully understand the
plot at times. having since read a little about taylor since on the
internet this film seems to distort a few facts.
This reminded me a lot of a classic British gangster film from the 40s although it isn't mentioned in this film squizzy was regarded a spiv (exactly the same as the spivs of English history and movies our most famous spiv being Darby Sabini spivs in england inspired a whole cycle of films known as the spiv cycle) ie a member of a razor gang who operated at race tracks but just like the crooks of English history he soon progressed to bigger crimes and more serious gangsterism. in some ways the film reminds me of the classic American crime movies with its drive bys and the overall feel of the film is very American although the structure of the film reminds me of English gangster biopic The Krays in that unless you have background knowledge at times it feels like your being drip fed random acts and outbursts also the police officer determined to nab taylor reminds m a lot of the military police officer in The Krays who comes to search their mums house when they go AWOL in The Krays. although the film is not like the film in style or attitude it is almost without the trademark sense of humour that normally distracts me from Australian gangster films although still nowhere near as heavy going as The Krays though and not to say its devoid of humour.
I think this is one more for those with an interest in gangster films and want to trys something a bit different.
This film captures sensibilities of a by-gone era in Australia.
Thankfully David Atkins and the film's makers understood that crims
like Squizzy knew how temporary and relatively small-time they were.
Atkins' portrayal is spot on because he has Squizzy revel in his
unexpected "fame" and success as only a boy from the gutter can due to
his underlying fatalism - "When you live, live in clover; cause when
you're dead, you're dead all over." Atkins' Squizzy knows the score,
lives for the moment and smirks at the ridiculousness of a world that
has temporarily turned in his favour.
The film is infinitely better than the Underbelly T.V.series "depiction" of Squizzy because it didn't glamorize him or use language or attribute motivations to him that were just not representative of Australians of the 1920-30's. I hate films that pander to modern day sensibilities because the makers think that it will sell the film to an audience - eg. "Titanic".
Jackie Weaver, as always, jumps off the screen at you. Again, it was the world that turned to meet her rather than Jackie changing or improving anything she was doing. She was always a star. Think of how Geoffrey Rush would probably still be doing bits and pieces of stage work in Australia without "Shine". Jackie, like Squizzy, must be smiling at the thought that people want to take so much notice of her after years as a relatively small-time actress.
Great to see another very talented actor/writer in Fred Cul Cullen in one of his last roles. He deserved at least as much fame as his younger brother Max Cullen but many remember his Logie award winning script "The Friendly Fellow" - an episode of Homicide. When the part of the central character became unavailable, Cul played the part. All rounders like Cul were products of the times. I just wish that I could sit down and have a beer and a yarn with Cul.
Lastly, it is good to see parts of Melbourne that have since been torn down and "developed".
I've always been of the opinion that Australian-made movies/TV programs
were less than when compared with movies made in UK or USA. Even low
budget American sit-coms seem to have higher production values than the
big-budget Australian extravaganzas. Compare 'Burn Notice'(USA) with
the latest (Australian) produced version of "The Great Gatsby"! I could
never put my finger on the reason. The only exception to the foregoing
statement would be "Phar Lap"(1983) directed by Simon Wincer.
Back to "Squizzy Taylor": a nasty little film about a nasty little man. According to Australian actor/critic/bore Graeme Blundell: David Atkins, since his starring role in this turkey, went on to become a film producer! Atkins has never been a household name and now we all know why. Even the much used Jacki Weaver can't save this tripe. Switch channels, mental note to self: never again. There we go: over ten lines already and I've hardly gotten started! Be warned.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wormy and diminutive, yet cunning and determined small-time hoodlum Squizzy Taylor (an excellent and energetic performance by David Atkins) rises to prominence and popularity in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920's. Squizzy romances brash moll Dolly (well played with winningly perky charm to spare by Jacki Weaver) and works for cagey bookie Henry Stokes (a fine portrayal by Cul Cullen) before branching out on his own while being hounded by the police and courted by the press the whole time. Director Kevin James Dobson relates the engrossing story at a steady pace and offers a flavorsome evocation of the vibrant era. Roger Sampson's colorful script makes a cogent point on how the press played a key role in making these gangsters heroes to the public at large by extensively covering their infamous exploits. Moreover, the filmmakers warrant additional praise for neither sanitizing nor romanticizing the main character in the least; instead they present a warts and all depiction of this weaselly back-stabbing little runt. The sound acting by the able cast keeps this movie humming: Alan Cassell as the shrewd and corrupt Detective Brophy, Michael Long as Brophy's more hard-nosed and by the book colleague Detective Piggott, Kim Lewis as the sweet Ida Pender, Robert Hughes as eager reporter Reg Harvey, and Steve Bisley as brutish rival 'Snowy' Cutmore. Both Don Burstall's sumptuous cinematography and Bruce Smeaton's jaunty score are up to par. A worthwhile film.
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