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:: Ten Empty

Ten Empty is an Australian film directed by Anthony Hayes, who has won acting awards for his supporting roles in films including The Boys, Look Both Ways, and Suburban Mayhem. He is finding his way through directing and this title refers to a collection of blank canvases that an Adelaide family once hoped would help lift their wife and mother out of a crippling depression.

Elliot (Daniel Fredricksen) recently returned to Adelaide from Sydney to become godfather for his newborn brother. His stepmother Diane (Lucy Bell) is keen to calm the troubled waters between Elliot and his grizzled father Ross (Geoff Morell), but Elliot is actually more interested in catching up with his mysteriously quiet younger brother Brett (Tom Budge), who is only ever seen drifting through the shadows of their suburban home. Ross ignores Elliot’s concerns about Brett, preferring to discuss the latest home brew he has concocted, while Elliot carries on about his successes back in Sydney selling very expensive writing implements.

But there are some very dark undercurrents flowing through. Bitter recriminations and resentment constantly threaten to flare up. The writing team of Anthony Hayes and Brendan Cowell have constructed an effective and compelling family drama that simmers along slowly, carefully revealing its secrets.

Frederiksen (from a TV and theatre background) is strong as Elliot, who starts off being very emotionally-removed but who is forced to emerge from behind his well-constructed defencea, by the dysfunctional family he discovers after years of absence.

It's worth savouring the appearance of Jack Thompson, who again shows his extraordinary acting skill in his few but powerful scenes. Women generally take a back seat in this drama, yet there is a terrific minor character, Bernadette (Blazey Best), who displays a toughness much needed in this story’s fraught context. There is also a strong soundtrack.

DVD Extras

  • Commentaries: Anthony Hayes, Brendan Cowell
  • Documentaries: Making-of
  • Interviews: At the movies: Anthony Hayes, Brendan Cowell
  • Trailers: Theatrical