|Index||3 reviews in total|
Every society has its underworld and gangster aspects, many of which
are portrayed in film and TV. The USA had its Godfather and Sopranos;
the Irish with the IRA; the English with the Krays. And, who can forget
the Italians and Russians with their mafias?
So, I was reminded of those precursors when series one of this look at the state of gang warfare in far north Australia finished on TV recently. With the help of Brian Cox always a great heavy, in my opinion, as local 'mafia' boss Harry Montebello - portraying a long-time Pommie immigrant who runs a family of smugglers and murderers based in Cairns, this series presents a realistic panorama of events that show how family and blood ties matter, especially within the black community.
And given a surname like Montebello, it's not surprising that Harry is not a guy to be messed with.
The series also shows how parental guidance and misguidance shapes the offspring into a life of crime, bringing them to accept and work with it despite the obvious contradictions. Recall, for example, how Michael Corleone (in the 1972 Godfather movie) very readily resorted to violence and omerta when his father is almost assassinated by another mob. Montebello's sons take up a similar challenge when he is almost done in by an imported hit-man hired by a local Hell's Angels group. Or...was it the Hell's Angels?
So, the story line/plot here is not too much different to other great efforts of the gangster genre. What sets this apart, though, is the degree of distrust and internecine fighting that ensues after the attempted assassination of big Harry. How all that pans out is very entertaining and quite realistic, I think.
Of particular note is Harry's daughter, Sissi (played by Suzannah Bayes-Morton), as the squeaky clean apple of Harry's eye, and the one whom he trusts the most to succeed in her studies to lead a normal life. Well, apart from Sissi, Harry's got a few other surprises in store, especially about his sons, his wife and his lover.
But, it takes ten well produced and well acted episodes to reveal all of the shenanigans of this crowd of no-goods of the far north of Australia. As a piece of Australian culture, it's probably close to what could happen, given the context and circumstances.
And, for me, what is deliciously entertaining are the ironic twists that the writer, Louis Nowra, injects into this sordid tale of family woe. Indeed, there is a touch of Greek tragedy in the final episode that lifts this story into an arena I didn't expect: I'm actually looking forward to the next series.
June 17, 2012
I started watching this show on Hulu without knowing anything about the show. The acting is fantastic! The story lines are compelling and believable for that sort of gangster lifestyle. The scenery is lovely especially the views from the airplane which shows all the little islands off the coast of Australia with the aqua colored waters. The actors were very well chosen for this show. It seems to me they use locals as extras who are sooo believable to their rough characters. This show is definitely a winner and I hope they are filming a second season as they can't leave us with such curiosity for more. Go to Hulu and watch the entire first season it's worth it!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kitty (Rena Owen) and Harry (Brian Cox) couldn't have children so they adopted Marou (Jimi Bani), Noel (Aaron Fa'aoso) and Sissi (Suzannah Bayes-Morton) from her extended family and Gary (Firass Dirani) from Harry's family. Instead of making the eldest -Noel- in charge of the family which is Kitty's cultural way, Harry decides to put each of his sons pitted against each other to see who is worthy of taking over Harry's role when he retires of the business which is running their family legal business the croc farm and their gravel business. Also there's the shady illegal business which includes smuggling guns and wildlife out and drugs into Australia. There is similarities to Shakespeare's Macbeth with second adopted son Marou and his social climbing ambitious wife Lola (Emma Lung) who advices him that he is worthy of taking over Harry's role.
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