Suburban Mayhem (2006) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
33 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
Can you say irony?
kbandxs13 September 2006
Katrina is 19 with a neglected toddler, a lipstick-smeared pout and a bad attitude. Her brother's in jail for murder and her dad's fed up with her bludging off him to finance a life that revolves around the beauty salon, bourbon and blow jobs. Soon she, too, is plotting a murder, which may or may not involve her sweet mechanic boyfriend Rusty or her brother's best mate, Kenny, a dropkick with a sadistic streak. In fact, every man she knows becomes a drooling idiot as soon as she unzips her micro-mini denim skirt. It's a juicy role and Emily Barclay attacks it with relish, making this vile steamroller of a sexpot almost likable. But her brash performance is also the movie's fatal flaw: Hurricane Katrina has it all her own way. Everyone else is too stupid or too nice to stand up to her. We've seen this character before, but Dede Truitt in The Opposite Of Sex and Suzanne Stone in To Die For weren't just bad to the bone, they were better written. Still, like that other wild ride through westie wasteland, Idiot Box, this is a bold, blackly funny picture of the Australia most of us live in, full of noisy energy and visual flair, and for that it deserves a big thumbs-up.
16 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Wow, have we been watching the same film?
nick_stables3 August 2006
Having just seen Suburban Mayhem at a screening event, and really enjoyed it, I was a little shocked to read the first two reviews here! Sure the film doesn't have a major budget, but I thought in general the acting was very good. Michael Dorman as Rusty and Genevieve Lemon as "Aunt" Dianne were particularly good, whilst Emily Barclay was always believable as the thoroughly rotten Katrina.

Katrina is not a character you can empathise with - let alone like, but the movie makes for good car-crash watching. How far will she go to get what she wants? What exactly is the relationship between Kat and Danny? Overall a very dark and comedic movie, with some wicked dialogue. The closing line of the movie was genius, and possibly the best I've seen yet!
24 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Worth seeing
Paul Martin18 October 2006
In some respects, this was quite an ambitious film – it's dark, smart, and edgy – a little bit in the vein of Brick (not as polished but a whole lot better). The music and energy are all there, but there seems to be a few flat spots. It may have benefited from some further editing to keep the momentum up, even though it's already just under 90 minutes in length. It seems like the writer and director had some good ideas, that weren't fully realised.

I think many cinema-goers will find this entertaining, and I certainly recommend it over the bulk of Hollywood releases (not that that's saying much), if that's your taste. For me it seemed laboured and contrived. The performances by the actors were generally (but not universally) OK. Emily Barclay's performance was good, but her character failed to engage – somewhat like Kath and Kim on speed. It's not that her character was nasty (David Wenham's monumental performance in The Boys was extremely nasty), but more that it seemed manufactured. Her brattishness becomes grating after a while.

The mid-film interviews reminded me of 2:37. They were better done in this film, but still detract somewhat from the continuity of the film.

The script seemed a bit clunky and self-conscious and just didn't quite work for me. I think the director depended too much on the sound-track and style over substance. A strength of the film is that it took some risks, but they weren't fully realised.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Nasty, pointless and downright uninteresting at times look at 'quirky' people doing horrible things to one another.
johnnyboyz19 March 2009
Few films will have you come away feeling as sick as I did from Suburban Mayhem, a putrid and quite vile film about despicable people doing despicable things to one another for the sake of daft entertainment. The film is bad, in that depressing and sickening manner that certain 'bad' films are. This is no guilty pleasure and this certainly isn't a study of anything remotely interesting despite the clear intentions it has. What else can you say about a film that brutally murders off the one, decent character whom tries to help others and then resorts to having its lead characters conform to horrific acts of animal cruelty for good measure?

The film centers on a female youth named Katrina (Barclay) and like the hurricane of her namesake, this little monster whirls bucket loads of chaos as she whirls around the general area causing havoc. Katrina has achieved what little ambition she has very early on in the film: her face on newspapers and her figure on television – it's a celebrity status through horrific acts that someone like Charles Manson might know all about but the thing that's more agitating is its obvious reek of Natural Born Killers and how Suburban Mayhem uses the distorted television perspective complete with 'the guilty' speaking into a camera in a mock interview set up – isn't that a clicé yet? If not, why not – I hate the convention and I hate how it makes people that do it feel clever because it 'breaks the fourth wall' and that's so 'out there' when it comes to mainstream cinema. You're not fooling anyone.

So the film revolves around Katrina and we see her story told to us in flashback format. Now, the term anti-hero is one that springs to mind here but I'm not going to apply it to Katrina because she (as does the film overall) doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the term. An anti-hero is someone who isn't quite on the level of 'good' but knows what they want and we feel a guilty urge to want them to win, even if it clashes with our own moral codes. Here, Katrina has a child, a child that she neglects and ignores in a couple of scenes that are just disturbing in her ruthlessness. Her father, John (Morgan), threatens to have the child taken away unless she sorts out her drug plagued; mischief plagued and crime plagued life. But she cannot have that and enters femme fatale mode to seduce a local nut-case named Kenny (Hayes) into killing her father for her. I don't think anyone in their right minds is going to want Katrina to get away with this.

The film's draw is a question that doubles up as its own hypothesis: "Can you really get away with murder?" thus tempting us to watch to see if someone actually might. Well, unless you're Jack the Ripper in 19th Century, or whenever it was, Britain – no, you can't. The question the writers and co. should've asked one another in a filmic sense is: "Should you really be able to get away with murder?" This is what they fail to spot by the time Katrina is just about home free and documenting to us her story from the confines of the future. If the film is so interested in the quirky delivery of the study of achieving celebrity fame through infamy then Natural Born Killers sets the bar and Van Sant's 'To Die For' is sub-Natural Born Killers; and Scott's 'Domino' is sub-To Die For which means this film is sub-Domino, which is really scraping the bottom of the barrel given how much I hated Domino.

So the 'anti-hero' on this occasion is not someone who will force us into questioning our own moral codes as much as she will force us to pray that she dies a slow death not too far into the film's beginning. The drug taking; threatening innocents at home; baby rejecting disaster that is Katrina struts about and moves into seducing Kenny for her own dirty work; we are not amused and we are not enthralled and we cannot believe what we're seeing. These days, the idea of becoming an overnight success for young people is, arguably, at its peak what with the extensive reality TV shows and so forth. I only pray this film be seen by as few as these young people as possible because in the end, the film is a glorification of a young girl who has attained celebrity status through things like pregnancy and getting caught up in a murder plot and what-not. What alarms me is that, here in Britain, the film was classed as a '15' certificate meaning most any teenager can access it.

I felt dirty when I watched Suburban Mayhem. The film is misjudged in its overall delivery and presentation of its ideas; a fun, fast and frenetic series of scenes that revolve around trench-coat wearing hermits being told to kill people on the promise of an easy lay from someone we're supposed to be gunning for. If you want a more mature look at working class life in Australia, as made by the Australians, I recommend 2005's 'Peaches' but Suburban Mayhem is a messy and childish exercise best viewed by as few people as possible.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Impressive portrait of a sociopath in misleadingly promoted film
Bloomer26 October 2006
Suburban Mayhem is a sturdy-ish drama/black comedy-with-very-little-comedy about the exploits of brash young sociopath and single mum Katrina. She lives in the 'burbs and her beloved brother is in jail for decapitating someone(!), yet Kat blames her dad's fumbly efforts during the court proceedings for her brother's incarceration - and also for the swooping of social services upon her kid - and starts scheming to have dad murdered.

This is a very well performed film, especially by Emily Barclay as Kat, and it's craftily directed for the most part, but unfortunately in the end the parts don't add up to create much overall effect. There's little suspense and very few surprises along the way to embellish the fatalistic plot. The device of framing the story with news interviews from after the events sometimes has the effect of delaying our access to the inner lives of the characters, especially Kat. I had the feeling we were about twenty minutes into the film before we started to experience anything from her point of view.

Perhaps what struck me the most is the gulf between the way the film's being promoted - as a lively, maybe even wacky, black comedy - and what it actually is; a black and steady portrait of a sociopath. Certainly there are funny moments, but this is by no means a funny film. Kat is a hugely impressive creation, completely unyielding in her unreasonableness and constantly manipulating those around her through her dumb psychopathy in such a way that the line between apparent calculation and banal self-centredness is hard to distinguish. Any film which builds itself around such a relentlessly appalling character is a brave film, but this just isn't a very entertaining film overall.

Even if you're as open to being bathed in dysfunction as I am, it's hard to stay interested in the character when Suburban Mayhem's trajectory feels so static, seeming to move towards quietness and bleakness at the end rather than any kind of intensity. As for those who demand likable characters, well, they're all going to recoil from this film anyway. Folks expecting a lot more fun are going to be justifiably disappointed, and I blame the film's advertising for this. Take a look at the poster for starters! Instantly it was one of my favourite film posters of all time when I saw it, but it simply isn't representative of the material.

I'll be interested to see if this film manages to take off, or if word of mouth is going to subdue it. It's been compared (pretty vaguely) to Chopper, and Chopper became a cult hit in spite of its own great bleakness, but I don't think Chopper was ever promoted as being something it wasn't.
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
I agree
davejohnpickering31 July 2006
I completely agree with you. I saw this film at Canne a few months ago and was very surprised that it made it into the film festival. It was by no means up to the quality of the other films in the festival and there was a great deal of shock after the screening from audience members who were really surprised at the less than average quality of the film. I think the film was written by first time screen-writer Alice bell, and it really shows. The script, direction, and performances are really not up to scratch. I agree and was also surprised that this film got commissioned. I have seen some very good Australian films recently, most notably The Proposition and Look Both Ways and was looking forward to yet another quality Australian product. Unfortunately though, Suburban Mayhem just doesn't cut it.
17 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Shootin' to thrill in thigh-high boots..
onamission30 October 2006
A darkly comic tale of desperation in the land of discount bourbon and Holden versus Ford. I'm somewhat at a loss to understand the negative reaction in some of the comments posted; understanding the foibles and peculiarities of Australian suburbia is important to seeing the film in its correct context. Emily Barclay sinks her teeth into Katrina with such enthusiasm that as she careens across the landscape with baby in tow over gullible men, naive women, impotent police and her well-meaning father we're tempted more than once to suspend the moral judgement we should be making and simply sit back to enjoy the ride. Questions are asked of the audience as much as of the film's characters, making us uneasy and showing Katrina's real power to manipulate. How much does the need for excitement in our lives stop us from making decisions about what is right or wrong? Is Bailee the get-out-of-jail free card that entitles Katrina to salvation as we find that crime sometimes does pay? A fresh, upfront production that along with recent films like "Kenny" and "Footy Legends" lends confidence to the recovery of the Australian movie industry from the ball and chain of film-school textbook orthodoxy.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Ambivalence leads to indifference
fertilecelluloid20 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A nineteen year old single mother (Emily Barclay) plots to kill her own father because she's a loser; her hope is that she'll get his house and savings. "Suburban Mayhem" could have been a good slice of exploitation, but director Paul Goldman seems ambivalent about the film's tone. Is he making an art film? Is he making a Corman film? Or a Jack Hill film like "Switchblade Sisters"? Ultimately, the film is unsatisfying because it sits on the fence. We get that our "heroine" is a loser and a grand manipulator, but we don't get much else. The film's third act is missing in action, so when the credits start to roll, I asked myself: "Is that it?" The pacing is swift and the film's look is pleasing, but the musical soundtrack is often overbearing and manages to give its non-stop montages a generic feel. Apparently based on a true story, the film lacks focus and is not as overtly fascinating as it ought to be.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Cyclone Katrina
Sergio_Falco28 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Suburban Mayhem is a raucous, nasty, in-your-face blast of often very black comedy. It's kind of like the mutant love child of Kath and Kim coupled with Natural Born Killers. It details the sordid life and times of a barely-out-of-her-teens sociopath and the trail of havoc she wreaks across an atypical brick veneer/Neighbors style suburban wasteland.

It's interesting that there are many negative reactions to the film on IMDb. I suppose that's mostly because the film refuses to apologise for offering up an amoral protagonist, and that's fine by me - whoever said that drama has to be about likable characters anyway? For me, it's enough that I'm interested in them and what they do, and in this instance, watching as these quite horrendous people crash and burn their way heedlessly through their lives held a kind of demented fascination. Is there a moral in all of this 'mayhem'? Perhaps. Perhaps the way Katrina gets her comeuppance in the final scene with her brother in jail is enough - but perhaps also, this film is a perfect one for John Howard's Australia. After all, when we, as a nation, can go out and willingly re-elect a liar and a war criminal, can we honestly say there is any real morality left in our land? Why shouldn't Katrina behave like she does? Hasn't her contemporary culture, for the most part, told her it's OK - don't worry, you can lie, manipulate and even kill - and the only real sin is getting caught? If we are outraged that she gets away with it, why? For me, these are all questions that the film threw up and for that I am thankful, as Australian cinema is usually committed to achieving a kind of frightened mediocrity which you depart from at your peril.

It isn't perfect and here and there the tone falters a bit and the intentional rawness occasionally slips into sloppiness, but for the most part, Suburban Mayhem is a wild, outrageous and startling ride. Recommended.
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Out-of-control!
lost-in-limbo18 September 2009
Emily Barclay… wow. What an excellently untouchable and stormy performance of teasing manipulation, in what drives and sets the kinetically sensationalized story of crime, drugs, sex, revenge and murder in motion. This sexily gusty little Australian made feature uses an old formula, but the pictorial direction pumps it up with vigorously hard-hitting energy and flashy techniques smothered by a rollicking rock soundtrack featuring homegrown talent. Fashionably mechanical handling throughout, but effectively unapologetic nonetheless. However director Paul Goldman does a good job etching in an authentic atmosphere of the western suburbs. The story follows that of Katrina Skinner… a rebellious 19 year old mum that's into crime, sex, cars and likes to be the 'showpiece' of the town. When her brother is put away for murder, she sets up a plan to hopefully bail him out. However her father (movingly tailored performance by Robert Morgan) is worried, especially about her baby daughter as she goes about leaving others to look after the child (namely her staunch boyfriend played Michael Dorman), as she searches for a recklessly good time. Everyone wants to see her clean up, but she won't have anything to with it and begins to turn on those who she believes are in the way. The plot is done in a fragmented style where in between the story; it would cut to a documentary crew filming people who were somewhat involved with Katrina asking questions about her. It's character-based with its cutting script with it being very vague on motivation, but lingering within is an intense mean-streak and suitably dark and racy comedic elements. Spitefully quirky, but compelling largely due to the unswervingly strong performances.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
A celebration of pop culture excess and misogyny
Needfire9 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Just saw Suburban Mayhem at TIFF; it's a brash, eye-popping mess of a movie. It's trying to pay homage to Pulp Fiction with its suggestions of horrible ways of dying--beheading or being bludgeoned to death by an inept killer. These are all loathsome, stupid people who manipulate and copulate their way through life.

The problem with this movie is its lack of purpose of direction. Is this a commentary on the skewed moral compass of these losers who will only find their fifteen minutes of fame by becoming infamous? I'm not sure that the director knew what was happening and just made this flick, hoping that someone would imbue meaning into it.

I don't know what the fuss is all about. There are plenty of films that address immoral characters and their behaviours in a way that makes you think. This film just pushes you over the edge and out the door.

Not worth your time.
8 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Suburban Mayhem
kbnutrition14 August 2006
I was elated when I won two tickets to the closing night film at The Melbourne International Film Festival. Suburban Mayhem had been wrongly titled and I was at a loss to establish how such a film could get made. What would I be able to learn from an attractive girl who likes to suck and .uck and whose only redeeming feature is a cute baby. This film should of been titled "Suburban Misogyny". I think that in this day and age it is very sad that for whatever reason women are still being perceived in such light on screen. I found this film meaningless and lost. The characters in this film were unlikable and had little room for development. Even the father who you were supposed to like was shallow and out of depth. I went into this film wanting to like it but left feeling very very empty.
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Terrible!!
redbeanbagthatsgood30 July 2006
This is without a doubt the WORST movie I have seen in years. Absolutely terrible. The whole film revolves around a 19 year old girl who decides she wants to kill her father. She is a mean and vile character and one can't help but ask?...who wants to sit in a theatre and watch a film about a character you absolutely despise?? There is no empathy for this character therefore you couldn't give a damn what happens to her, or what happens in the film. It also has one of the worst performances on screen by Australian actor Michael Dorman. How did this movie ever get made? It's pretentious, uninvolving, boring, and downright terrible. I strongly recommend you save your money and do not go and see this movie. If you don't believe me, check out the reviews....EVERY SINGLE REVIEW I have seen of this movie is negative. No-one likes it...and i completely understand why.
15 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Here we go...
Tony Camel5 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
An examination of the whole nature vs nurture argument, the answer to which it wisely shies away from, Suburban Mayhem is a thrilling, stimulating film that will excite debate everywhere it's shown. Teenagers have always been demonised, of course, but never more so than now, surely, when they are blamed for everything from rising crime figures to the impact on our planet of global warming. Certainly the heroine of Paul Goldman's film, Katrina, is a creature beloved of the tabloids; a 19-year-old femme fatale in a mini-skirt and black leather boots whose mobile is tucked, teasingly, into her cleavage.

Indeed the star's creator, writer Alice Bell, constructed Katrina from numerous court hearings and newspaper tales, all of which could have produced a parody of a contemporary teenager. Thankfully, it did not. Rather, New Zealand actress Emily Barclay brings Katrina vividly to life, as her story unfolds in flashback, punctuated by interviews with those who have crossed her path along the way, from her father's one-time girlfriend, Dianne (Genevieve Lemon), to ex-friend, Lilya (Mia Wasikowska).
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Magic dirt cinema
Rhys (DrBugSmith)14 November 2006
The daughter who every parent whispers "I'm glad she isn't mine" is on your door step... and she hasn't left her keys. Katrina the nightmare in leather boots and retreating skirt lines is the chaotic centre of Paul Goldman's third major feature. Life crumbles around Katrina when her beloved brother commits a terrible crime. His conviction steels her own into a focus her trite existence has never known; to get him out. But Katrina's skills aren't the ones you were taught at school, at least not in the classroom. Sex is a weapon and manipulation is as reflexive as a mouse trap to Kat, bridges burning as she accelerates through a drunken haze. The ensuing tailspin tears loose the few friends she has leaving her with desperate measures to succeed.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
I'm stuck in the middle
suekatemasters5 August 2006
There sure is differing comments on this page. I have to say though, I am stuck in the middle of them all. I don't think the movie is as bad as the first two comments, i also don't think the movie is as good as the third comment. It's not bad, and it's not good. It's an OK movie. It could have been a lot better. I don't agree with the first two comments, and I thought the performances were acceptable. Emily Barclay is good, Michael Dorman is passable, (just, mind you), and the ensemble cast were good. I think the main problem with this movie was summed up very well from a Hollywood Reporter review I recently read, it goes something like this: "If you are going to spend 90 minutes with a wild animal, something about that character should intrigue and engage you. Nothing here does." Having said that, the film is OK, just not good. It's definitely a DVD movie for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
I loved it!
debbie_cherryb9 August 2006
This film is a great roller-coaster ride from start to finish - starting out as a black comedy and becoming more and more dark towards the end.

It's because Katrina has no redeeming features and no moral boundaries that makes this film such a great watch. She will literally do anything to get what she wants, and we can only watch in amazement as she succeeds! Just like the film, she's brash, cocky, sexy, and very entertaining - a brilliant central character who Emily Barclay plays perfectly. You watch in disbelief as she calmly gets away with everything. I know it doesn't have the highest production values in the world but the way it's shot, through a series of real time interviews and flashbacks, gives the movie an energy that is lacking in so many films today.

There are so many unanswered questions that leave you thinking about the film long after you've seen it - why is Katrina so driven and so unrepentant of her actions? What exactly is the relationship with her brother? etc. Everyone in the film has their opinion and all of them are different. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to see it again.
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
somebody missed the mark completely
salsatee7315 November 2006
I was very excited to see this film after all the hype, i was also looking forward to a funny, insightful portrait of 'SUBURBAN MAYHEM' especially having grown up in a place like the one depicted in the film.

I was extremely disappointed. I actually found myself bored for the entire length of the film and it only runs for 90mins. I really can't understand how people are saying this is thrilling or a fantastic Austalian film. It is actually very weak, boring with not much mayhem.

I thought Barclay was outstanding but the script and direction was sloppy, the 'documentary' format annoyed me, totally unnecessary.

I can see what was trying to be achieved but the script lacked a real depth and direction and i found the characters to be two dimensional.

I don't know who is at fault here, the direction or the writing, maybe it was both - but somebody missed the mark completely.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Mad, Bad and very sexy
Philby-329 October 2006
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.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A very funny high octane thrill ride with a mad bad girl
davidshaune15 August 2006
I have just seen Suburban Mayhem at a large film festival screening. The film is as hilarious as it is dark and disturbing, and by the way, the audience (1,500+) loved it. Some of the other IMDb reviews seemed to have missed the point of the film altogether. If you don't get dry black deadpan humour, you are not going to get this film. If you are looking for a morality play, you are watching the wrong film. BUT, if you want to go on a hilarious high octane thrill ride with a mad bad girl; this is the film for you. Latterly, the Australian film industry seems to have churned out a string of bleak and depressing films about drugs and junkies. Finally, here is a film that is irreverent, black, and very, very funny. Suburban Mayhem uses heightened reality to take you on a surreal ride through warts and all Australian suburbia. This is Kath and Kim on the dark side, with Katrina as an even more self obsessed, selfish, and out of control Kim. Emily Barclay, as the mad bad Katrina is amazing, and the rest of the cast plays it straight, which only makes it more fun to watch.
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Noisy and Pointless
billcr1219 August 2012
Suburban Mayhem is just what the title promises, as nineteen year old single mom, Katrina, views the world as her oyster, taking from it anything she wants. Her dad wants her to get a job, as he is the one supporting her and her baby. She resents him to the point of having him killed so that she will inherit his house. Her brother is in jail for murder, and she wanders from man to man in casual sexual encounters, dressed in tight black leather mini-skirts and boots, while others watch her little one. The biggest problem is that I never cared what happened to Katrina, as she is a completely unlikeable human being, with no redeeming qualities, and very average looks. Emily Barclay does a fine job portraying the trailer trash vixen, but the music blasts throughout this unhappy social drama, and by the time it mercifully ended, I had a headache. The movie is loosely based on a true crime case which is well known in Australia. I would prefer to see a documentary, using the real life people involved. Erol Morris, are you listening?
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Best Actress award?
Eric Rose27 October 2006
Apparently this film is nominated for several AFI awards including Best Actress for Emily Barclay. I can understand why - her performance is mesmerising and impressive given her public comments about the problems getting in character. The rest of the cast is very solid as well, and it was good to see Steve Bastoni on screen again, as he haven't been in much lately.

From the start, with a cheesy special effect and the killer soundtrack, you have to either accept the proposition put to you, or walk out there and then. I found the loudness of the music almost physical - it was as much a character as Katrina. Mick Harvey has done some wonderful film-score work before, on Australian Rules and Chopper, not to mention his time with Nick Cave and this one adds to his reputation.

Thinking of films in this genre, that I would compare Suburban Mayhem to, I'd have to go with Natural Born Killers as the top of the list. I don't think that this is quite in the same league as a work by Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino, but it's still very well done.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A kick-ass performance by Barclay
louise_sch22 October 2006
I just came back from a showing of this film where the director (Paul Goldman) and the female lead (Emily Barclay) introduced the film and participated in a Q&A from the audience. I would encourage you to see the film - the script is really engaging and the mock-documentary style used through parts of the film gives it a really interesting edge. But the main reason to see this is the amazing performance by Barclay. She commands the screen, you simply can't take your eyes off her. While you may not empathise with the character of Katrina, Barclay plays her with such strength and confidence and its great to see such a strong female character being written and being played so well. Keep your eye on Barclay and Bell's (writer) career - I think this is only the beginning!!
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Suburban... Hissyfit?
jokadmin20 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Hmm... I am actually in this film, I went to the "premiere" screening tonight in Newcastle (after the film had already been in the can for several months now). This also coincides with the announcement for the AFI awards. It didn't surprise me that this film wasn't nominated for best picture. I know we've had some absolute stinkers of late, but honestly, this failed to live up to my expectations. I read another comment on this page saying how it was a "high-octane thrill ride". Well, honestly, this should serve as a reminder not to mix ethanol with your screenplays unless you're going to burn them.

I feel for Alice Bell. I know she's been told by a lot of people that this film is brilliant, but honestly, her vision of a cat-out-of-hell Corman-esquire tyrade has been painfully dissolved by Goldman self indulgent directing. Firstly, the talking heads documentary. Why do it unless you had a lot of screen time to fill. We know what's going to happen in the end. It seems to me that if you're going to have a "high-octane thrill ride", shouldn't you at least be living in the now and the present? I mean, isn't all this just past tense. We know she makes it, we know Rusty makes it, we know someone dies. I mean, if you're going to set your structure up in such a house-of-cards way, you may as well just film it as a segment for A Current Affairs afterall.

Structure is the most important in storytelling. All the flashy shots, no matter how elaborate, are meaningless if you can't justify your plot. This seems to be the problem with Australian films of late. Our funding bodies just seem to be giving our tax money to the same old people to create the same old films. Trust me, three years from now, this movie will be on some shelf in a DVD shop with a fifty cent pricetag on it.

Let's making something lasting and resonant. Play with your camera's and digital floating mailbox effects with your own time. Once more, I say, decent idea, sadly subverted, poorly executed.

Alice if you're reading this dear, don't let my words get you down. Please try, try again.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Capitol B for Boring. Saw the movie tonight with Director Q & A session.
markspencer_1727 September 2006
Boring Boring Boring.

Sometimes I go into a film not wanting to be there or with negative pre-conceptions only to be blown away with it's originality and entertainment values. This was not one of these films.

In an age of free to air TV programming mainly consisting of shows depicting death, killing and women using their sexuality to put men down, Suburban Mayhem has both for $15.

During the Q&A after film writer (Alice Bell) could not answer the question asking her whether she liked her main character or not. Considering the films content I wonder what did her father did to her ?

I cannot believe that the writer and the director would think that this was an interesting time for a movie like this. I cannot see anything new about it.

If you really want to see killing just turn on the TV, people are doing it for real !!!!!

The worst thing about it ? Its not entertaining !!!!!

Save your hard earned money.
5 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews