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:: Australian Rules

Paul Goldman’s feature debut, Australian Rules is set in the small racially divided coastal town of Prospect Bay (Tidy Town runner up). The film examines life, love and football through our main protagonist, the 16 year-old ‘supernova of seduction’ Gary (Blacky) Black (played by Nathan Phillips).

Blacky takes us through his struggles in his family with his abusive father, his football team with his overbearing coach and the racism in the town toward his best friend Aboriginal boy Dumby Red (Luke Carroll). He begins to learn that the white people in Prospect Bay harbour many feelings of racism toward the Indigenous community. At the Premiership celebrations this becomes evident when the best on ground is awarded to the coaches’ son, a white boy, rather than the deserving Dumby. This act further divides the two communities who are ready to erupt, especially when a horrific incident occurs that forces Blacky to finally challenge and stand up to his father Bob (Simon Westaway) for the sake of his friendship and new found love with Dumby’s sister, Clarence (Lisa Flanagan). Blacky is torn between a town that refuses to let go of their past prejudices and between what’s right and what is expected of him.

Based on the novel ‘Deadly, Unna?’ (Cool, isn’t it?) by Phillip Gwynne and co-written with Goldman, Australian Rules is based on a true story in Point Pearce, South Australia in 1977. Director of Photography, Mandy Walker, has wonderfully captured the powerful landscape of the coastal South Australian town. Beautiful sunsets, shots of the pier and the surroundings that all serve to enforce the isolation of the community. There are fine performances from the cast, especially Nathan Phillips, who brilliantly portrays a young man caught between letting go and growing up. Lisa Flanagan as Clarence also displayed a solid performance and the chemistry between the two actors is pleasing to watch, especially as they sit underneath the pier as she feeds him the lines he should be saying to her.
Australian Rules is a powerful and confronting film that meets its challenges head on and doesn’t attempt to back down from them.

Screening at Cinema Como, Cinema Nova, Classic Cinemas, Brighton Bay Cinemas, George Cinemas and Balwyn Cinemas.