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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!
A solid example of an Aussie crime/comedy caper - but more than that, it's
brilliant display by David Wenham, who deserves much applause (and a good
shower) for his portrayal of Johnny 'Spit' Spiteri.
Many things come together to make this a great Aussie film. The cinematography is clever and fresh, the script is, and the acting is superb.
Sam Worthington is Barry, recently out of prison, who lands a job as a chef in a struggling restaurant, run by Darren (the wonderful Timothy Spall), an ex-con trying to stay straight. When Darren runs into trouble with a suspect $200,000, and Barry's friend Spit runs afoul of the local gangster (Gary Sweet), they team up for a double-cross - but it's much more complicated than that.
The script is smart and devilish, but while it twists and turns, it never approaches ridiculousness. Written by prominent criminal lawyer Chris Nyst, you wonder who much is fact and how much is fiction - something here seems plausible.
That might be just the superb acting. Worthington is solid and believable, but Wenham utterly steals the show as the hapless, mullet-wearing Spit. One scene where Spit goes before a court hearing is one of the highlights of Aussie cinema of the last decade. It's stunningly scripted, brilliantly acted - and very funny.
'Gettin Square' isn't as good as 'Two Hands' - it's uneven at times, slightly plodding early on, and takes 40 minutes to really get into the script - but it's still well worth the entry price.
This is the second feature from director Jonathan Teplitzky (Better Than
Sex) and his spunky, slightly off-beat direction doesn't
Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington) has just been paroled and wants to get square (go straight) but finds that his shady ex-acquaintances and past are harder to lose than he thought. Barry and his mate Johnny "Spit" Spitieri (David Wenham) and new employer Darren Barrington (Timothy Spall) and find themselves pitted against the high-tech resources of the newly formed Crimes Investigation Commission (CIC) and old enemy Chicka Martin (Gary Sweet) and his cronies.
The cast (and a couple of excellent cameo appearances by Ugly Dave Gray and Gretel Killeen) is virtually flawless and David Wenham is hilarious (his court appearance for the CIC is likely to go down as one of the most hilarious misadventures in court, ever). Slick writing, excellent direction make this a very easy film to watch and thoroughly enjoy!
David Wenham steals the show as the spaced out junkie "Spit". His performance in the tribunal scene is one of the greatest comedy scenes I've ever seen in a movie. This performance took it from just another caper movie to a really good movie. Freya Stafford was wasted as the juvenile love interest, she can handle meatier roles than this. Gary Sweet as good as ever and the rest of the cast was world class. Don't miss this one!
I work in the area the film is based. I drive past where most of the
scenes were filmed daily and also encounter people exactly like those
in the film.
If you think the Australianism was put on or too strong, it's only because you don't spend enough time in Surfers Paradise or your from Melbourne or Sydney. The film was even daring enough to have a well known Gold Coast Underworld figure play a "heavy", and the fact is they may even played it down a bit, cause anyone who spends enough time in Surfers has seen him drive around in his Lamoborghini or Ferrari with the plates Shark on there.
The united States has Goodfellas, we have Getting Square
This movie showcases how simple Aussie production teams can make a world class movie with a budget one hundredth of big block buster Hollywood films. Characters are real and easy to relate to and there is no hint of pretentiousness by any actors throughout the film. Although this is an Australian based film this movie can cross international borders with ease , small time crime is universal . I would put this movie in a bracket with films like lock stock and snatch in the sense even though you know these people are breaking the laws they're the underdog you want to see get up . I would probably rate this as my favourite movie and find myself watching it at least once a week . With a cast of mainly relatively unknowns with the exception of people like sam worthington , gary sweet , David wenham and tim spall I feel it is one of the best low budget films released from Australia
Hate to compare it but best described as Australia's 'Lock Stock and 2
smoking Barrels' set in Queensland.
When you are convinced by roles being played you forget they are actors in a movie unlike so many 'Wallyhood' celebs who play limited angles of themselves. All the characters are brilliantly played with David Wenham (as the pitiful John Spiteri) deserving of acclaim as is Timothy Spall (Dabber); a great compliment to the superb Australian cast who's 'ocka' accents and amusing slang build the appeal. It's a punchy, funny, cool film with fast cut directing depicting the humour and anguish of characters and their predicaments succinctly and with style. The sound track is sexy and suitably complimentary.
Getting' Square is one of the zaniest movies I've seen all year. What
really makes the movie is actor is David Wenham as Johnny "SPIT"
Spitieri who plays a very dumb junkie. Some of you may know him as
Faramir in Lord Of The Rings. Nobody could have played his junkie role
better. I saw this movie at the Honolulu Film Festival and David Wenham
Getting' Square is about three criminals who are trying to set their lives straight. Spitieri is just out of jail and trying to get himself off drugs. Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington) met Spitieri in jail, and he is released towards the start of the movie, and is also trying to clean himself up.
The Australian accents were a bit hard for me to understand at times, but that didn't much matter because the actors did such a great job. The court room scene that David Wenham did was acting at it's best. Nobody else could have played Johnny Spitieri better.
The marketing killed this one because it was a great film with brilliant
performances but it seemed like another bad comedy. However it was really
entertain and David Wenham was brilliant as Spit. The courtroom scene is
classic stuff.the ending is a bit weak and sentimental but still a good
I've now watched this movie twice and enjoyed it immensely on both viewings. It has an excellent script with great humour and is very hilarious in parts... particularly when David Wenham's character "Johnny Spitieri" is on the screen. David should have won an Oscar along with his AFI, FCCA & IF Best Actor awards for this role. Absolutely excellent! The rest of the cast also give very good performances and are well cast. Timothy Spall is particularly good as the crim who's trying hard to be a legitimate businessman. It's a good tale with enough twists and turns to hold your interest to the very end. Watch it for David's performance if nothing else!
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