Murray Whelan, a young political adviser to the Labor Minister for Ethnic Affairs, must play detective when he gets unwillingly dragged into a murder investigation. Based on a popular Australian series of detective books.
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When Murray Whelan (David Wenham) goes to visit Giles Aubrey (Alex Menglet), the two young boys with him are wearing black masks/ helmets in the manner of Ned Kelly, the most famous Australian bushranger. Given the Arts theme of the movie, the helmets are also likely to be an homage to the series of Ned Kelly paintings by Australian artist, Sydney Nolan, who painted a large series of paintings about Ned Kelly which featured Kelly's helmet as the central motif. See more »
"It's an action comedy drama murder mystery (acdmm), Sam"
This, the second of the Murray Whelan acdmms, follows the same successful formula as the first. Murray Whelan is an untidy but lovable guy, who stumbles his way through the world trying to serve his masters and love his son, with mixed success. About half way through the movie my wife made the very perceptive comment that everyone so far was playing an idiot; and in a perverse way, that's what makes the humour, even though we wouldn't normally laugh at an idiot per se.
The plot is about art fraud. Not that that is relevant to anything, other than it allows Bruce Spence to play either a gay or merely very foppish role, which he clearly does with great relish.
This is the sort of movie that experienced actors such as Spence, Steve Bisley, Mick Malloy and John Clarke can play in their sleep, and possibly do. It'll never be considered a classic movie, but then again, there is no expectation that it would be. One of the secrets of Paul Hogan's success was that he didn't flood our TV screens with his show, and this movie is equally coy. It's only the second Murray Whelan this year, and one every six months does indeed seem to be the right amount. This would never form the basis of a weekly comedy show, and wisely, it is apparently not going to become such. Many of the gags are telegraphed well in advance (eg, the characters that Murray meets in the elevator), as in often the case with John Clarke, but that doesn't take away from their punch.
Sam Neill is listed as director, and he did a good job. I would have liked to have seen him in the movie as well. And by the way, the acdmm quote in the Summary above is from the TV station promo when John C and Sam N were discussing what these movies would be.
In summary, a good movie to see and enjoy once, delivering exactly what it promised.
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