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Life is good for ad man Ruben Guthrie - he leads a party boy lifestyle, has a model fiancée and lives in a house on the water. He's at the top of his game, until some drunken skylarking lands Ruben at the bottom of his infinity pool, lucky to be alive. His mum hits the panic button, and then his fiancée leaves him, but not before issuing him one final challenge: If Ruben can do one year without a drink, she'll give him another chance... RUBEN GUTHRIE is the story of one man not only battling the bottle, but the city that won't let him put it down.Written by
Suffice it to say, Australian actors are almost always, in the least, competent.
But after seeing this, the only thing I can say about it is--it's competently made, is Australia-centric, allowed some decent, professional actors to make a living, and is as predictable as tomorrow's sunrise.
"Writer-Director" Cowell appears to prove, once again, that good writer-directors are extremely rare. In Crowell's case, I'd say that it's the writing part that fails here. The script is competently (yet predictably) paced, but the premise itself is about as original as a corporate ad--plenty of time to 'hit the loo', knowing that you'd miss nothing of importance no matter how long you took (sorry but it's not very much about missing any actor's glowing moment-- moments usually only recognized if the film itself is a worthy vehicle for such).
As for Cowell's direction, the danger here for any Australian film- maker, I think, is over saturation a la the 'Luhrmann Effect', in that, the wreckage Luhrmann made of Gatsby (offensive to virtually all those above the age of 'twenny sumpthin') is invisible against his previous success to any wannabe writer-director--while Cowell avoids the gaudy baubles and annoying soundtrack irrelevancies, the source of his inspiration is obvious. There are two likely outcomes for W/D's suffering from this: you either manage to pull off a unique, quirky, original film, or, in failure (as is most always the case), you mill out another ad-carrying vehicle for late-night TV.
To me, one thing I've always liked about Australian actors is their ability to provide an absorbing level of depth to their characters, juxtaposed to what I've recognized as a profound, inexplicably acute dearth of originality coming from the Great Down-Under. Give me an Australian Actor and/or DOP any day--leave the writer/directors at home.
Ultimately, perhaps it is best to view this film as a bit of worthy self-reflection for a country that still has an enormous problem with alcoholics, and that this such relevancy may be lost on outsiders, but other than that, I would never willingly pay to see this film, (I saw it for free through my streaming account) nor have wasted my time seeing it had I known what I was in for.
But in the end, what drives me to critique this and other similar films so energetically is the exasperation I feel when witnessing the waste--so many good scripts out there by competent writers will be consummately ignored by so many wannabe do-it-alls with-- unfortunately for all of us--nice-sized production budgets.
Thanks for providing a living wage for yet another film crew and decent local actors though. If this was merely something done to fill up the contract calendar while working on The Big Thing, then I can better understand.
4 Stars--for the acting and production work. .
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