Gettin' Square is about starting over, keeping clean and going straight. Barry Wirth is fresh out of prison and determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But like his mate Johnny 'Spit... See full summary »
Set in 1960's Sydney, this is the story of an Australian gangster whose booming business, buoyed by the influx of U.S. soldiers in town for R&R during their tours in Vietnam, attracts the ... See full summary »
Gettin' Square is about starting over, keeping clean and going straight. Barry Wirth is fresh out of prison and determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But like his mate Johnny 'Spit' Spiteri and reformed gangster turned restaurateur Dabba, he finds out the hard way that there are old scores and a few new ones that'll make getting square a lot harder than he thought. Written by
I bought this DVD second hand from Amazon when I realized that the DVD drive on my PC is slightly more promiscuous than the one on my TV, and can be teased into playing Region 4 DVDs, because for some reason I can't quite fathom, this movie isn't available in the Region 1 format of my adopted home (California.) I don't know if it ever got a cinema release here, but it's certainly not available on DVD or video. Possibly they thought it might need subtitles? But I'm glad I tracked it down because it definitely brightened up my week!
This is basically a classic Cockney Crime Caper, fairly old fashioned in concept but beautifully scripted and acted, and exported to Australia. Instead of the dull streets of east or south London, we are treated to the eye candy of Surfer's Paradise (and I freely admit I have no idea whether that's a real place or not) where the azure skies, blonde beaches and palm trees suggest a luxuriant, idyllic, sybaritic lifestyle. Which is a nice twist given the reality of the story-line of down on their luck ex-cons of varying intelligence levels, trying to escape their dodgy pasts. Other reviewers have outlined the story, so I won't repeat it here. It's a little clichéd in places (cute ex-con redeemed by love of a good woman, new found sense of responsibility for baby brother and amazing ability to cook lean cuisine, a skill he apparently picked up while chopping carrots in jail. I mean really?) but Getting' Square's heart's in the right place and it's entertaining and funny, and boasts a wonderful cast, including Sam Worthington, Timothy Spall, Freya Stafford and David Wenham.
David Wenham steals the show completely as Spit, the touchingly hopeless druggie. He is quite possibly the only actor around capable of making a drug addict appealing (cold sore and all) and as many others have said, the court scene is a classic, and the screwdriver and ski-mask robbery of the gas station totally cracked me up. Also not to be missed, the sight of Spit hot footing it down the street in ill-fitting briefs and flip flops. If only the junkies I've met were in such good shape! This is exactly the kind of entertaining, blackly comic movie which is not seen here in the USA, and which makes me nostalgic for British and Australian humour, which I think are pretty similar. I'm quite surprised to read some of the criticisms of this movie on IMDb. Given the standard of so much of the Hollywood dross that dominates cinema screens everywhere, you Aussies should be really glad you still have easy access to something as good as this!
Addendum: since writing this a friend has come back from Australia and informed me that Surfer's Paradise is not only a real place, but just like the movie. Perfect!
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