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The Castle (1997)

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A working-class family from Melbourne, Australia fights city hall after being told they must vacate their beloved family home to allow for infrastructural expansion.

Director:

Rob Sitch

Writers:

Santo Cilauro (written and conceived by), Tom Gleisner (written and conceived by) | 2 more credits »
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2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caton ... Darryl Kerrigan
Anne Tenney Anne Tenney ... Sal Kerrigan
Stephen Curry ... Dale Kerrigan
Anthony Simcoe ... Steve Kerrigan
Sophie Lee Sophie Lee ... Tracey Kerrigan
Wayne Hope ... Wayne Kerrigan
Tiriel Mora ... Dennis Denuto
Eric Bana ... Con Petropoulous
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... Lawrence Hammill
Robyn Nevin ... Federal Court Judge
Costas Kilias ... Farouk
Bryan Dawe Bryan Dawe ... Ron Graham
Monty Maizels Monty Maizels ... Jack
Lynda Gibson Lynda Gibson ... Evonne
John Benton John Benton ... Mr. Lyle
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Storyline

A Melbourne family is very happy living where they do, near the Melbourne airport (according to Jane Kennedy, it's "practically their back yard"). However, they are forced to leave their beloved home, by the Government and airport authorities. 'The Castle' is the story of how they fight to remain in their house, taking their case as far as the High Court. Written by Simon Quinn <G.Quinn@mailbox.uq.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy that sticks the finger up the big guys. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Az én házam, az én váram See more »

Filming Locations:

Victoria, Australia See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,452, 9 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$861,789, 11 July 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shooting schedule was cut from from 20 to 11 days - the number of days the filmmakers could afford to feed the cast and crew. See more »

Goofs

The scenes that are supposedly inside the High Court of Australia (Federal court located in Canberra) are actually filmed inside the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Victorian Coat-of-Arms are visible behind the judges. See more »

Quotes

Darryl Kerrigan: Tell him he's dreaming
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the US version, the reference to the Australian TV show 'Hey Hey it's Saturday' has been removed. See more »


Soundtracks

We've Only Just Begun
(1970)
Performed by Kate Ceberano
Music by Roger Nichols
Lyrics by Paul Williams
© Irving Music Inc.
Used by permission of Rondor Music Australia Pty Ltd
Kate Ceberano appears courtesy of Mushroom Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good fun
4 April 2004 | by gregsrantsSee all my reviews

Every once and while you find yourself watching a movie you have heard nothing about. A film with no A-Listed actors, no director with a treasure trove of awards and the sheer name of the films title at an office water cooler would result in blank stares and crickets scratching their hind legs in the background. Such was the case with the 1997 Australian gem, The Castle.

Directed by Rob Sitch, who went on to help another underachieving treasure with The Dish, the story is about an Australian family's struggle to keep their home in lieu of being given a compulsory notice from the government that the airport is expanding where their house presently stands. Although I try not to be simplistic and sum up an entire plot in as little as one sentence, really, that is all you need you know to enjoy this independent comedy.

The family is played by a host of unknowns. Michael Caton, Anne Tenney, Stephen Curry, Anthony Simcoe, Sophia Lee and Wayne Hope play Darryl, Sal, Dale, Steve, Tracy and Wayne Kerrigan. The family lives a simple life and enjoys their time together to the fullest. They complement each other at each dinner table, they watch television as a family unit and they spend their time discussing items listed for sale in the trades papers. Their sister just got married and other than the eldest son being in jail for a crime the family holds no grudges, things could not be better.

So when the government sends notice that they must leave their house for the airport expansion, they agree not to go down without a fight and they illicit the help of other street families and a local barrister that has no business defending in Federal Court.

You might think this all sounds very serious for a comedy plot line, but it's the exact opposite. The story begins with a long narration from the youngest son who reflects on how proud he is of his family. He talks about how each member bring a unique talent to the unit and how the father figure is the one that is full of positive reinforcement. The narration and visuals surrounding his description are Australian humor at its best. Whether we are laughing at the fathers adoration and praise of simple tasks like the scooping of ice cream from a tub or the wonderment of family members over an invention of a motorcycle helmet with a brake light on the back, we marvel at the sheer naivety of the family and what it deems to be important.

The best way to covey this functional family unit is to describe it as a family of Woody Boyd's from Cheers or a litter of Joey characters from Friends. They all utter words we would deem obtuse, but it is all in good fun and it comes across as simple people simply observing their surroundings and commenting on how they interact with the world. As example, when Dale Kerrigan is speaking of the family's fame after taking the matters to court, he narrates, `Dad said it was funny how one day you're not famous, and the next day you are. Famous. And then you're not again.' There speech is entirely primitive, but funny in the same vein.

To go into more detail about the film would give away too much and this film must really be viewed and enjoyed without expectation. You may not belly laugh at any time during the short 84 minute running time, but I doubt you won't spend time shaking your head in reaction to something a Kerrigan family member utters with a ‘I can't believe he just said that' notion.

So I recommend The Castle. I recommend it with pause. It is an above average comedy that was made for less money than the cost of the Matrix end credits (They used the family name Kerrigan so they could use Kerrigan trucks during the shoot), but it can teach us a lot about the family unit. Here is a group of simpletons that love each other, respect each other and will do anything to preserve their ‘home'. What better lesson is there than that?


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