Having returned the three I wrote about yesterday, I now have a rather different selection. The first is a movie I had never heard of, though it was made as recently as 2014 and featured in Sundance 2014. Rotten Tomatoes gives a mixed verdict. I shall wait and see.
The movie is Rudderless.
Billy Crudup plays Sam, a former high-profile advertising executive whose life is torn apart by the sudden death of his son. Living off the grid on a docked sailboat, he wastes away his days while drowning his pain in alcohol. When Sam discovers a box filled with his son’s demo tapes and lyrics, his own child’s musical talent is a revelation for him, a grieving father who felt he’d been absent from his son’s life. Communing with his deceased son’s dashed dreams, Sam learns each song and eventually musters the will to perform one at a local bar. When Quentin (Anton Yelchin), a young musician in the audience, is captivated by the song, the unlikely duo forms a rock band that becomes surprisingly popular and revitalizes both of their lives.
Fred Topel’s Sundance 2014 Review: Rudderless enthuses:
As director, William H. Macy must have learned from Paul Thomas Anderson because he creates dynamic scenes and camera moves, from the media swarm in the immediate aftermath of Josh’s death, to a montage of performances in which one fluid shot cuts into the next. Wow.
“Wow” is a what I was thinking throughout Rudderless. Wow that the screenplay by Macy, Jeff Robison and Casey Twenter dealt with tragedy in such a classy way, expanded on grief to make it constructive and balanced the fun and heart with sensitivity. Wow that a simple story about music and humanity looked so elegant. Wow that the songs made me happy even though I knew they came from a sad place. Wow that both the opening and closing night selections of Sundance were such powerful films. Just wow.
Next is Australian miniseries Waterfront (1984). Yes, Jack Thompson.
Set in late 1920s Melbourne, WATERFRONT begins with the Waterside Workers’ Union refusing to abide by the award-conditions handed down with the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. The waterfronts of Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne are effectively shut down. Nationalist Party Prime Minister, Stanley Bruce, authorizes legislation permitting the employment of non-union labour on the wharves and the shipping bosses respond by hiring newly arrived Italian immigrants desperate for work. These ‘scabs’ face expected bitter resentment by the Union as well as shameful and overt racial intimidation and abuse…
There is a Wollongong connection in that the screenplay is by Mac Gudgeon; see my June 2015 post The Secret River revisited.
The Secret River is already listed on the International Movie Database with a ranking of 8.9/10 so far.
Looking at the scriptwriters one finds a Wollongong connection. The writers are Kate Grenville herself, Jan Sardi, and Mac Gudgeon who was born in Wollongong. Indeed when I arrived to teach in 1970 Mac Gudgeon and his father were quite famous. Mac Gudgeon Senior celebrated his 100th birthday in 2014.
Finally, Redfern Now: Promise Me (2015).
I have seen this before but look forward to seeing it again. See Redfern Now: Promise Me review – final, unsettling showing from a superb cast — 4/5 stars.
…True to the depth of the series, Promise Me is uninterested in simple notions of right or wrong, and sees injustices in human behaviour largely as a result of lack of perspective.
Redfern Now stands distinct from other productions in part because it focuses on Aboriginal stories in suburban rather than rural and remote locations, where they are traditionally represented in film and TV. But it is the film-makers’ ongoing ability to recalibrate dramatic conflict as a means of pursuing consequence rather than resolution that plays a larger part in what makes it one of the defining Australian dramas since the turn of the century…
Related: my post Redfern Now and my own nostalgia.