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:: Matching Jack

A smart screenwriter is able to manipulate an audience member so well that they feel like they are eyewitness to the events happening before them. That is certainly the case with ‘Matching Jack’. This Australian film sucked me right in, so much so that I was almost an emotional mess watching it. While there are small things about the films that bugged me, for the most part I was completely engrossed in the film and hoping for the survival for the child.

Jack (Tom Russell) is just your average young boy until one day he practically collapses while playing soccer. While his mother, Marissa (Jacinda Barrett) anxiously waits to see what his wrong with him, his father, David (Richard Roxburgh) is pursuing yet another affair with Veronica (Yvonne Strahovski). As Professor Nelson (Colin Friels) realises only a bone marrow transplant will save Jack Marissa discovers David has had many lovers over the years. Marissa decides to see if any of those women have had a child that could be related to Jack. Meanwhile Jack befriends his ward-mate, Finn (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Finn’s father, Connor (James Nesbitt) gets closer to Marissa.

Director Nadia Tass has created a very special film indeed and while the film is good enough to emotionally affect you, there are little things in the film that not only bugged me but should have never slipped by a good director. The biggest mistake is the scenes that involve Finn and Jack going to Luna Park – how are kids with no money able to hire two taxis and spend hours at an amusement park. Some would call it nit-picking but it was something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head.

Don’t get me wrong ‘Matching Jack’ is a good film. The acting performances are seriously out of this world. Tom Russell and Kodi Smit-McPhee deserve to win a lot of awards for their performances… and they show why they are healthy future of acting in Australia. Their performances here surpass most of the weak acting performances you see coming out of Hollywood these days. Jacinda Barrett also shines in a role full of emotion while James Nesbitt shows why he is considered one of the world’s finest character actors. It was a brave choice by the producers to cast Nesbitt, and it is a choice that has paid off brilliantly well.

‘Matching Jack’ has its weaknesses but for the most part it is a well-written film that has produced some of the best acting performances you are ever likely to see… just be prepared to cry – they really should hand out Kleenixs as the audience goes through the door. But still the show is stolen by Smit-McPhee and Russell who put in some of the best performances you are ever likely to see.