Pawno (2015) Poster


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Solid and fascinating microcosm of urban life in Australia
david-rector-8509226 September 2016
'Pawno' was ultimately a pleasant surprise as this viewer sifts through a plethora of Australian movies as part of member screenings for the AACTA film awards for 2016. With low expectations (and some dipped even below that), the gems of this season have been with the smaller and often first time film makers. 'Down river', 'Teenage Kicks', 'Girl Asleep' and 'Joe Cinque's Consolation' have been some of the stronger films that were entered into the race for the year's best.

'Pawno' may be overlooked, but i sincerely hope not, as it has much to offer and is, despite some tough scenes, a sweet tale at its centre. The script and central character belong to Damian Hill, and his affection/amusement/fascination with his myriad of motley characters shines through the screen and emanates from his break out performance here. His character's journey is especially interesting and unexpected. The film's screen time is shared between Hill's 'Danny' (a somewhat demure, lovelorn employee) and that of the pawn shop owner 'Les' played by veteran John Brumpton. This viewer has been attending local film screenings for nearly 30 years and Brumpton's career is distinguished and varied and nearly that long! He is perfect for the title role. The actor has the right blend of tough talking, world weary cynicism mixed with a hint of compassion that breaks through some scenes really cogently. The two leads are a great contrast in qualities. The film is primarily set in and around the shop and is 'a day in the life of' for the gentlemen running it as well as the various customers who frequent the pretty dark and dingy establishment.

The remainder of the dozen or so locals who frequent the streets near the pawnbroker's shop are a bit hit and miss, with some too broad; others not developed enough, but it does provide a very vivid and at times uneasy sense of street life in such a community (a suburb of Melbourne). There is a tense mix of diverse ethnicity; sexuality and gender; with the generally genial but foul mouthed pair played by Malcolm Kennard and Mark Coles Smith providing some much needed farce and social commentary. Award winning actress Kerry Armstrong lends a few moments of gravitas that might have been more affecting with a little more screen time, but it all added to the melting pot that is the world of 'Pawno'.

Australian films almost always struggle at the local box office, and films that are largely ignored by the media and a dearth of entertainment or movie review outlets, makes it all too difficult for little gems to be seen. I may have had to sit through and occasionally walk out on some dire examples of Aussie storytelling, but it is always a privilege to sit and experience narratives that speak to something authentic and identifiable. Films like 'Pawno' and the aforementioned 2016 features show that although bums are not hitting seats at cinemas, there are some terrific tales to rally behind. Thankfully there are now numerous ways to interact with content, and I encourage viewers of interesting cinema to check out some of the lesser talked about titles of the year.
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Minor, small-scale but really rather likable.
MOscarbradley27 January 2019
Minor, small-scale but really rather likable tragic-comic ensemble piece from Australia, "Pawno", as its title suggests, revolves around a day in the life of a pawnbroker's shop in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray, focusing not just on the two guys who work there but on their customers and neighbors as well. It's a little too lightweight to make a major impact but it's well written, (by Damian Hill who also plays the pawnbroker's assistant and who died tragically young a few months ago), and pleasingly acted by everyone. The director is Paul Ireland who, with more substantial material, could go far.
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The human side of Australia
tradewinds683 September 2017
I was incredibly surprised by both the content and human elements of this poignant movie. It's depiction of life on the street and within the surrounding community, has no equal in my eyes in Australian film.

The sensitive nature in which each complex character was handled was very intelligent and showed that marginalised people still have dreams and hopes. The movie humanised people who are ordinarily shunned by society. The content was very thought- provoking.

I haven't written a review for some time, but this film moved me to write this in the hope that more people might read it and watch this movie.
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don't miss it
colindhogan4 March 2017
what a great movie I guess living in Footscray made it seem real with all the quirky characters. great acting from the whole cast and wonderful scrip, so honest the whole movie had a great feel about it I loved it at the movies, just bought the DVD and loved it more the second time, congratulations to all concerned
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Its a fine Footscray Tale
mikeyboy265 January 2020
I believe some of the reviews (there are only 7) on about this Australian Film have been a little unkind. I also live in the west and have been frequent visitor to Footscray for many many years. I have seen it evolve and change culturally after successive waves of immigrants make footscray their home. The film did show much of its current cultural diversity if not necessarily in the main protagonists. But it was just one story of the many that could be told about this western suburb only 10 mins from the City. And it was a fine story.
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Pawno - Whatever You Do, Think Twice Before You Step Inside This Shop (or Suburb)
krocheav30 September 2017
Beware, here is another Aussie movie that claims to be a reflection of a city and its inhabitants. Yes, these types are there if you go looking for them but, where are the rest of the folk that make up the heart of any city? Seems there's not one, no, not one somewhat 'balanced' character whom a wider audience might more easily identify with. Sandwiched between some of the most demeaning foul dialogue, we are expected to 'enjoy' the company of a cast of unbearable thugs and low-lifers - as they waste their lives on drugs, sex, theft, and beating someone senseless.

Producer/writer/actor, Damian Hill might have scored higher if he had developed his characters more finely. This may have given us more of an idea what was driving them or if he had simply given his audience some relief from the gutter talk, and grossly unlikable situations that makes up the lives of this bunch of non-event, lost souls. Even with a tacked on 'nice' ending - overall, this is just one more movie experience that some may want to follow up with a wrist-slitting party. Very little to enjoy here.
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