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Why does a 19 year-old girl plot to kill her own father? Katrina Skinner is stuck in suburbia with her toddler daughter and her devoted dad. Her brother Danny is in jail for life for murder. Her mother abandoned her years ago. The neighbors are scared of her. The police can't keep up with her. Nobody can control her but everybody's trying. Her dad won't mind his own business. Katrina misses her brother. She needs money for his appeal. She's bored and she's sick of living with her dad. She's not going to work a day in her life and she knows her dad's not going to help her financially anymore. She's first in line for the family inheritance. All she needs to do now is convince one of her lovers to do the deed and she's never had much trouble getting men to do what she wants. All for the love of her brother. It's John Skinner's funeral, inside the Golden Grove Crematorium. Kat sits on the front pew between her cheeky fiancé Rusty and her toddler daughter Bailee. Her mobile phone ... Written by
This film, directed by Paul Goldman ("Australian Rules", "The Night We Called it a Day"), is not so much Pulp Fiction Australian style as pulp faction; first-time scriptwriter Alice Bell has cobbled together a story inspired by the real-life murder of her father committed by 19 year old Belinda van Krevel in suburban Wollongong (though the film was shot in Newcastle). Cyclone Katrina, as another reviewer accurately calls her, is indeed an elemental force, unrestrained by social conventions and morality. She has a hopeless passion for her brother Daniel (Laurence Breuls) who is locked up early in the movie for taking the head off a convenience store clerk with a samurai sword during an ineptly executed robbery. Katrina is determined to get him out, and the need to get money for Danny's appeal drives her to organizing her blameless father's murder. In the meantime she drives furiously, has sex with practically every young tradesman in the district and neglects her baby, fortunately largely cared for by her loyal boyfriend Rusty (Michael Dorman), who likes to think of himself as the father.
Whatever production defects this movie may have, it passed the watch test. It really is hard to take your eyes off Emma Barclay as Katrina. Kat is vulgar, rude, lewd, and driven largely by emotion, yet she radiates sexuality, the kind that a well-brought up male feels guilty about acknowledging. She knows what men want; hence the long string of "admirers". Interestingly she tends to adopt the superior position during sexual congress, no doubt to stay in control, for she is a controlling sort of person.
Her environment is standard suburban wasteland (well-off blue collar boring) but it is not obvious why she and her brother have turned out to be such poisonous personalities. Mum, it seems, was a drug addict banished years ago from the family home, but Dad (Robert Morgan) is a decent caring person, a builder by trade and maybe not very perceptive. Perhaps Dad was too indulgent and a firmer line with the kids might have avoided disaster, though his girlfriend "Auntie" Dianne (Genevieve Lemon) puts it all down to genes Grandma and mother both having been mad.
There is an obvious parallel with "The Boys" of a few years ago, which was no comedy but did explain how a truly monstrous crime originated. This is a lighter piece though what Katrina brings about is still pretty nasty. Justice is not done either, which is disturbing.
Even so, whatever is driving Katrina, Emily Barclay makes her totally believable. The rest of the cast are rather overshadowed, but Steve Bastoni is effective as an intimidated policeman and Michael Dorman convincing as Rusty, a moth to Katrina's candle, or rather blowtorch. We know via the mockumentary sections what is coming up, but we still get a surprise. Katrina does rather better than her real-life counterpart, but someone like her is not likely to enjoy a quiet life, or a very long one either.
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