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‘Australia Day’ (2017) – Throwback Movie Review Starring Bryan Brown


Every year Australia Day rolls around, there seems to be more controversy over the date and validity of the national celebration.

So it makes sense that writer Stephen M. Irwin and director Kriv Stenders would attempt to cash in on this event, and try to create a symbolic story that engages with our increasingly complex national character.

I only caught this movie recently and was certainly disappointed with the end result. The movie had a lot of promise, with cinema icon Bryan Brown in a leading role, and Stender’s portfolio including the acclaimed Red Dog (2011) and the Wake In Fright (2017) remake miniseries.

The major problem with this movie is that it seems slightly lost, and unsure of what it wants to say. The premise is fairly interesting, utilising three interlocking stories, in the vein of Tarantino. The film follows three characters from diverse backgrounds; South Asian, Middle Eastern and Indigenous, and attempts to tackle racial tension and complex themes of national identity.

Unfortunately, the plots are all too predictable and poorly portrayed. One pastiche features a violent confrontation between rowdy caucasian guys and Middle Eastern Australians reminiscent of the Cronulla riots. A second story follows a young indigenous girl whose mother is afflicted with a heroin addiction and is being tracked by police officers who provide the missing link. Whilst the third story is essentially an Australian rip-off of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976), with Brian Brown playing the bitter hero, drawn into an exploitative brothel operating underneath the law.

What’s really disappointing about this film, is the Pulp Fiction style format might’ve turned it into a truly iconic story, had it been pulled off well. With a little more sophistication and style, this film could have sat in the halls of great Australian movies such as Gregor Jordan’s Two Hands (1999). Sadly, this mediocre, somewhat exploitative piece, is too overtly political and lacking plot and substance.

Fun Fact:

Third of three feature film collaborations (as of September 2017) between actor Bryan Brown and director Kriv Stenders after Kill Me Three Times (2014) and the previous year’s Red Dog: True Blue (2016).

Chas Farrow

Chas Farrow

A man who likes films so much… He married one.

Deserted Island Movie Collection: Undoubtedly has to be the collected works of Arnold Grossman, in particular the 2015 film ‘The Boat Builder’ starring Christopher Lloyd.

Best Movie Snack: Roasted Coconut. Wait? Are we still on the deserted island?
Chas Farrow

Australia Day

5.2

Story

4.0/10

Characters

7.0/10

Performances

6.0/10

Direction

5.0/10

Entertainment Value

4.0/10

Directed By

  • Kriv Stenders

Starring

  • Bryan Brown
  • Shari Sebbens
  • Sean Keenan
  • Isabelle Cornish
  • Daniel Webber