Psycho Joe, a petrol-head from Altona, Melbourne, secures employment at a local Supermarket. Here, he meets the over-sexed Dazey. Joe and Dazey form a friendship based on a mutual interest i... Read allPsycho Joe, a petrol-head from Altona, Melbourne, secures employment at a local Supermarket. Here, he meets the over-sexed Dazey. Joe and Dazey form a friendship based on a mutual interest in old hot cars. Joe also forms a relationship with a Satanic fellow employee. The nihilism... Read allPsycho Joe, a petrol-head from Altona, Melbourne, secures employment at a local Supermarket. Here, he meets the over-sexed Dazey. Joe and Dazey form a friendship based on a mutual interest in old hot cars. Joe also forms a relationship with a Satanic fellow employee. The nihilism of these young characters, coupled with parental disputes, leads to various tragedies.
Director Geoffrey Wright is one of the very few directors are willing to go to the lengths that he does, refusing to tell a story that involves conventional moralities and cardboard characters, nor does he balk at portraying the violence perpetrated by these unhappy youths in their quest for identity and meaning. This is a disturbing film and not for the morally squeamish. The fact that the director dared to cast actors who are NOT the Matt Dillon or Brad Pitts of this world makes the characters of this film so believable. Even though Dazey is cast as "Matt Dillon" of this film it is quiet clear that he is a big fish in a very small pond. Remember this is not a story of the super cool and tough guys at the top, this is a story of the guys at the bottom. So relative to the situation and surroundings I would say that the characters are perfectly cast. Dazey might have been tougher but that would have made him too stereotyped and I feel that he is more of a playboy then a fighter.
This film was totally unexpected, on the surface it is another simple story of youth gone wrong, but behind all these gritty characters and realistic dialogue is a deep complex story line dealing with many themes. The filming and editing techniques help to explore these themes resulting in an Cult Australian hit. Granted this film is not for everyone. Many people will miss the complexity of this file and end up simply judging the story superficially or they will not enjoy the setting of impoverished youth in Melbourne.
The sounds and images of Metal Skin remained with me for many days after first viewing, and would return unbidden like dream fragments in the weeks that followed. The bleakness of the environment inhabited by Metal Skin's characters is emphasised by the almost complete lack of sunlight in the film; daytime scenes are shot against unforgiving grey skies, or at twilight, or in the rain. Industrial, dockside or suburban scenes are de-saturated of colour, with occasional flashes of maroon or lime green in the characters' clothing the only break in this monotony. Much of the film is shot at night to emphasise the characters' separation from the mainstream and lack of interaction with "normal" city life; as their night work at the supermarket indicates, they are not even full members of the economy, but are marginal even here. Incessant and intrusive sound and visual editing and confounding time shifts, work to disorient the viewer and constantly put you on edge and into their world.
Another prominent theme is of this Melbourne underworld, a world that is off balance, a place where the darker parts of the human mind are never far off. We are made to see, hear and feel this world. The director desire to document the marginalised, the outcast, the fringe-dwellers of society does not extend to offer hope, solutions, where there are none.
Blue the colour of sadness, depression, gloom and doom follows Joe like a shadow from which he can not escape. It may be debated but for me the primary theme of this film was psychological. How the characters are affected by the presence of lack love in their lives. What happens when they reach breaking point. Relationships between fathers and sons, friends, and lovers are all examined. The psychological theme is also examined from the point of view of control. We see how the characters try to affect control on the world around and fail miserably while unintentionally setting chains of events in motion with ramifications for all those around them. The characters are trapped by there very nature, they can not change, and it is there failure to change and there failure to see and understand the world as it is, that inevitably leads to there fate.
- Jul 7, 2010