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Book Week (2018) - A Review by Mathew Currey - The Haze Magazine & BlueTube - BLUE MOUNTAINS FILM & TV
Genre: Black Comedy/Drama
Rating 4.5 Stars
Nicholas Cutler (Alan Dukes, in his first leading role. Last Cab to Darwin. 2015), is a alcoholic, narcissistic, arrogant high school teacher who revels in sarcasm, has a disdain for the student's lack of enthusiasm towards literature, but mostly hates being a teacher.
His only connections worth having at the school and in his life is his sponsor student Tyrell (Thuso Lekwape, Berlin Syndrome. 2016), his sister Nadine (Pippa Grandison, TV's Underbelly. 2011), a student teacher Sarah (Airlie Dodds, Killing Ground. 2016) and fellow teacher Lee (Susan Prior, The Rover. 2014), but when the opportunity of a lifetime arises, will his egotistical ways cause more harm than good.
Writer and director Heath Davis's second film, following Broke (2015) is a very rewarding piece of character study, choices and something that big budget movies sometimes fail to do; connect with the audience. These diverse characters all carry their own path without the audience feeling they are just generic fictional people, every single one of them have a unique study about them which is able to keep them individual. Sure there are the go to tropes of writing characters and putting them into situations in any sort of fiction and scripts, but here Mr. Davis has been able to create a human connection to each person, a very rare trait in film or any piece of writing that is around in this day an age.
Filming around the Blue Mountains, in particular Katoomba, the feeling of familiarity, not just for the residents of the Blue Mountains itself, but for the common feeling of a high school in the suburbs and the intimacy of going to a local pub or a friends house makes the film more lively.
In the two lead roles of Nicholas and Lee, Alan Dukes and Susan Prior are a complete breath of fresh air to watch. Both bringing a powerhouse depth of real life humanity, for instance anguish, self-importance, emotion and loss in a sense of oneself to their characters to make them leap of the page and screen causing the audience to instantly feel for them is something to behold and watch. Their backgrounds in theatre and screen benefits them both immensely as they slip into their roles and both Nicholas and Lee come alive, to which Alan Dukes should be given more leading roles.
The wonderful support cast from Airlie Dodds, Rhys Muldoon, Maya Stange, Nicholas Hope (in a short but powerful presence), Khan Chittenden & Toby Schmidtz, Jolene Anderson, Rose Riley, Suzan Marie Ghaleb, Vanessa Buckley, Bonnie Ferguson, Tiriel Mora, Trudy Ager, Dean Kyrwood, Matilda Ridgeway, Cindy Pritchard, Benjamin Scales, Glen Robinson, Emilee Robinson and Steve Le Marquand should all be congratulated for their ensemble in this independent feature and every single one should hold their head high.
Mr. Davis has created a stellar black comedy and directed with such finesse on a shoe string budget, let alone a very tight shooting schedule, that his results outshine some Hollywood movies, for which his next movie, 'Locusts' should already have high anticipation.
If there is any movie that should be seen, it is 'Book Week', not just for the sheer realism to it, the wonderful cast, the often hilarious script, but for the fact that a little movie like this just goes to show the public that it can make an impact and go a long way.
Showing nationally from October 25th at United Cinemas Katoomba, Hoyts Penrith and other leading cinemas.
Nicholas Hope (Bad Boy Bubby. 1993), who portrays Nicholas's father Ken, starred in Redd Inc. (2012) which is which is directed by one of the producers Daniel Krige, whom wrote and directed 'West' (2007) starring Khan Chittenden in the lead role, whom appears in this film as 'Adam' a book publisher.
Writer and director Heath Davis worked as a school teacher prior to directing films.
Airlie Dodds and Maya Stange co-starred in Damien Power's film Killing Ground (2016).
Alan Dukes and Steve Le Marquand will reunite in Heath Davis's follow up film, 'Locusts' (2019), making the second time for Alan to appear in a movie by Heath and the third for Steve Le Marquand following 'Broke' (2015) and 'Book Week' (2018).
This movie was crowdfunded and made from the support of friends, family and the local community of the Blue Mountains.
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