8:00 PM, 15th October, 2005
There are so few good Australian films around these days that critics tend to do somersaults when a half decent one comes along. I'm sure one perfect day will come soon, and our film industry will get back on track, but for now most movies remain under the radar. Stories like Three Dollars show that, while we aren't thunderstruck with our films, we're not the finished people yet.
For Eddie (Wenham), life in his thirties involves marriage and a child with his university sweetheart Tanya (O'Connor), as well as the challenges of economic rationalism. He encounters Amanda (Wynter) every nine and a half years, usually at crucial points in his life.
While flawed (it tries to include too many themes), Three Dollars is a good yarn. It is well acted and has many good ideas in its narrative. It is worth taking the extra time out to come along and see, much more entertaining than sitting at home listening to the old man read love stories (alright, now it's just getting stupid!).
PS I'd like to 'pay tribute' to the cinema employee who MCed the meet-the-author preview screening of this film, and decided to stop the sound as soon as the credits started rolling, thereby cutting out 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' after only a few bars!!!
10:00 PM, 15th October, 2005
Here's the bit that won me over: Italian immigrant Nino Culotta has just arrived in Australia and is haplessly making his way through Sydney, trying to find a suburb which a taxi driver has led him to believe is called "King's Bloody Cross". He's still calling it that when a policeman arrives. I was expecting a brawl followed by an arrest- but the policeman simply tells him the correct name; it all ends amicably; Nino makes a mental note not to make that kind of mistake again, and he doesn't. Each time, Nino gets things wrong exactly once.
He arrives in Australia with nothing, expecting a job which no longer exists: a journalist, he tries to make his way as a bricklayer. And step by step he does. The film's genuine idealism has given it a reputation for being na((iuml))ve and patronising: that's what I expected, too, but I was wrong. The Hungarian-born screenwriter was fond of saying that he was more English than most other English people: unlike them, he chose to be English. When Nino chooses a new nationality, and makes the best of it, we have no difficulty believing in either his choice or his success.