Source novelist Peter Corris has said of this movie in 'The Newtown Review of Books': "Producers Tim Read and John Edwards bought an option with the same idea as Stephen Wallace - cast Bryan Brown as Cliff Hardy. It seemed a perfect fit. I was contracted to write a script with the producers having an opt-out clause if unsatisfied. I wrote a script which they deemed 'too soft'; I wrote another which they said was 'too hard'. 'Sandra Levy' was then brought in and we wrote a script together. John Edwards said, 'Peter, this is almost there!'. The next I heard, they'd exercised the clause and brought in a new scriptwriter. This was Keith Dewhurst who'd written scripts for the British TV series Z Cars. Good choice, I thought and went overseas, adopting the Hemingway philosophy - take the money and run. The film, in my view, was a mess, although critic David Stratton in his book 'The Avocado Plantation' differs. I believe the script missed the point of the book. Bryan Brown was good, perhaps too good. I heard later that some of the cast were so overawed by him they gave lame performances. The director, Chris Thomson, and Brown were said to have been at odds. The female lead, supposed to be whippet-thin and feisty, was so when cast but was pregnant by the time of shooting and wore enveloping garments". See more »
A pretty empty filled story, yet, still a night's watch, thanks to our always reliant Bryan
The Empty Beach is a thriller that lets on much more than it is. Bryan Brown of course is Bryan Brown (Two Hands remains his best performance). Here his Cliff Hardy, private detective character, isn't anything new. Yes, he loves his drink, he's a mess, can't look after himself. Enough said there. Called upon by a beautiful and mysterious woman (Belinda Giblon) to track down her missing husband, involved in some bad business, which has to do with these missing tapes, soon the usual follows, in limited plotting, Brown of course having some humorous moments, like when ordered around by his younger flatmate (Kerry Mack) whose sort of like a mother, telling him to take more pride in himself. I still enjoyed this flick quite a bit, from a Phil Avalon novel, first initially thinking this was a follow up to The Coolangatta Gold, this also featuring Nick Tate, a not so liked Sydney sider with some independent cheek, who could provide some of the answers, like his girlfriend too, Anna Jemison, who assists Brown, after Tate buys it in the water. Brown even has a transvestite killer come after him, an earlier scene while being chased by him, has a funny ending, a little boy in a wooden dunny, covering for him, that ends with the sound of a turd hitting the water. Other suspects come into play, but this is just a weak underwritten thriller, but still has a lot of appeal, a small touch of it, comedic. It's appeal is mostly on Browns part as he cavorts through a Sydney, amongst some seedy characters, suspects, and acquaintances like a nineteen year old ex, including some upper class folk with a lot of muscle, where Brown isn't afraid to voice his opinion. He has some throwback lines too, shared with John Wood as a copper he initially gets on the wrong side of. Even, it's after ending shot on the sparkling waters of Palm Beach, has Giblin, offering Brown more lucre, where apparently the missing husband, has been spotted in Bangkok, but you'll love as what. There are some truly, p..s weak poor moments in this drama, whatever, yet still if you're an Aussie thriller crime fan, don't snub it, cause all negatives aside, there's comedic value.
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