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:: Suburban Mayhem

A very audacious and hard-hitting film marks director Paul Goldman's third feature film. It's bound to leave a lasting impression and the principal person who will leave it that way is young New Zealand actress Emily Barclay.

The film emanates from the screenplay by Alice Bell, who had experienced some hellish moments in her life, and in others. Set in Newcastle, New South Wales Bell brings us a rebellious character called Katrina (Barclay) and the film soon begins with an interview where Katrina is a suspect in her father's murder.

The clever and well-prepared interview scenes revolve around those close to Katrina, a young single mother who has committed stealing offences, used cocaine, and mistreats her baby daughter. Her brother Danny (Laurence Breuls) is already in jail for murder and Katrina makes a valiant and determined effort to finance an appeal against his life sentence. The interviewees also include Katrina's suffering boyfriend Rusty (Michael Dorman), a naive friend Lilya (Mia Wasikowska), and a policeman (Steve Bastoni).

A series of incidents and circumstances are shown in and around the interviews and flashbacks. Emily Barclay's performance is brilliant in the challenging and brave role. She dominates the film. She is well supported, particularly by Anthony Hayes as the simple Kenny, another person associated with the unusual circumstances in the story.

The musical score is provided by Mick Harvey. a long-time friend of Paul Goldman and it punk rock element complements the story beautifully. Goldman provides excellent direction and editing prowess in being committed to the characters. This film is unforgettable in various ways and well worth a look.