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Little Fish (2005)

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Set in the Little Saigon district outside of Sydney, a woman (Blanchett) trying to escape her past becomes embroiled in a drug deal.


Rowan Woods

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cate Blanchett ... Tracy
Sam Neill ... The Jockey
Hugo Weaving ... Lionel
Martin Henderson ... Ray
Noni Hazlehurst ... Janelle
Dustin Nguyen ... Jonny
Joel Tobeck ... Moss
Lisa McCune ... Laura
Susie Porter ... Jenny
Nina Liu ... Mai
Linda Cropper Linda Cropper ... Denise
Daniela Farinacci Daniela Farinacci ... Donna
Ferdinand Hoang ... Khiem
Anh Do Anh Do ... Tran
Jason Chong ... Mingh


In Sydney, Tracey Heart is a thirty-two years old manager of a video shop ex-addicted in heroin and clean for four years. She is trying to raise forty thousand dollars to buy a shop for computer games on the next door of the rental and become partner of her boss, but based on her negative records, the banks deny the loan. Tracey takes care of her junkie stepfather Lionel Dawson, unsuccessfully trying to make him quit his heroin habit. When her former boy-friend Jonny returns from Vancouver, Tracey's mother Janelle fears a fall of Tracey, while she blames Jonny for the car accident where her son Ray lost one leg. When Ray and Jonny associate to Moss, the assistant of the retired criminal boss Bradley 'The Jockey' Thompson, in drug dealing, Tracey is convinced by Jonny to join them and raise the necessary money for her business along the weekend. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug content and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Vietnamese | English

Release Date:

8 September 2005 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Dag katan See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

AUD 454,063 (Australia), 11 September 2005, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,127, 26 February 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of the characters was originally meant to have been gone for a few years in Hong Kong. However, after shooting, they realized that the actor had a slightly American accent, so changed all references to Hong Kong to Vancouver, Canada. See more »


Janelle: She's doing great. She opening her own shop.
Tracy Heart: Mum. I going into partnership with Min who I work for at the video shop. they're expanding into internet online gaming.
See more »


Features Farscape (1999) See more »


A Place in the Sun
Written by Dave Faulkner
Performed by Hoodoo Gurus (as The Hoodoo Gurus)
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User Reviews

Meandering and ambiguous film that demands an artistic tag but there are better films out there that do this.
19 June 2008 | by johnnyboyzSee all my reviews

There is no surprise here that director Rowan Woods has gone for the more exploratory, more ambiguous and more artistic approach to his film Little Fish. The man has a relatively long line of experience in film-making and moving image production on the whole but here and now when this film was made in 2004, he persists on the exploratory and the artistic despite being given an extremely heavyweight cast that he must've known would've attracted attention abroad. And although I am all for the artistic and the experimental, the effort here just does not cut it – wearing off after about forty-five minutes.

Little Fish reminded me of a BBC produced Scottish drama made in 2002 named Morvern Callar. Both films are exploratory and somewhat ambiguous in their atmosphere; both centre around a confused young female as they live out their days in a respective place that is simple and unspectacular but all the more realistic for it. Both women are faced with an immediate moral choice regarding an event in which the repercussions would be severe: unreported suicide in Morvern Callar and the re-introduction to drugs in Little Fish. Cate Blanchett plays Tracy, an Australian woman in a Sydney suburb tempted back into the world of drug dealing after suffering a prior tragedy, years ago. Blanchett does her usual oblivious faced, soft spoken role that almost demands the audience feel sorry for her or at least 'side' with her – see Elizabeth and Bandits for other examples. She has some friends, some family, a cute little job in a video store and generally gets on well with life following her prior excursion into the world of the 'don't go there'.

But complications arise and the film begins to loose its focus around about the hour mark. Little Fish is not really about too much when you break things down for the first hour or so bar life in Australia, circa 2004 or 2005 depending on weather you want to go by shooting dates or release dates. Given this fact, the film could really be set anywhere and at anytime in history providing the location is developed enough to have a video rental store. The characters in this film are cardboard and uninteresting, most of the time the film will be more interested in giving them funky sounding ring-tones than developing them beyond mere people who stand and talk for minutes on end. What do we know about Lionel played by acting heavyweight Hugo Weaving? We know that he was an Aussie Rules footballer but that is only through the various shots of posters displaying him in action. Apart from this, any dialogue or individual scenes are uninteresting and bland with that distinct annoying feeling you get when a film is trying to pile on an artistic presence.

But then the film brings in its weak attempt at a narrative and its unexciting character development. The people in this film are uninteresting people with uninteresting goals. One character wants to get a new floor for her apartment; Tracy herself wants to open a shop in the said area and the general plot goal throughout is to generally avoid the drugs business and stay away from the wrong people – how exciting. But after being rejected for various loans in two of only very few scenes early on that actually further the film, it seems Tracy's ideas about participating in a drug deal may be too strong to turn down. She will after all, get a lot of money out of it for not much. Primarily, people come and then they go in the film without doing or saying that much. Jonny (Nguyen) is an ex-flame and a somewhat boring love interest that slows the film down needlessly; the scenes around Lionel and constant reminder of his past glories are old after the first time and after pottering about with Tracy for a long while whilst revolving around her past drug problem and how 'stable' she actually is, it just gets tiresome.

The film throws in a lot of unneeded shots of Tracy swimming and the romantic interest of Jonny gives Dustin Nguyen an excuse to show us his muscles (the film was written by a woman, mind) but the underwater shots exist to merely force the film into the realm of the 'artistic' and the inserted TV footage is a silly attempt at getting the film labelled post-modern. The camera shakes a few times and is generally hand-held but so what? Are you that desperate for an artistic labelling? The bizarre music feels recycled from better, much better, films like Donnie Darko and Morven Callar while the narrative drive of drugs and a drug problem feels old. Little Fish may be 'out there' and a somewhat breakaway from formula but it is a film that should stay in the pond with the rest of the minors rather than attempt to get out and swim with the sharks.

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