- Director:Dan Castle
- Cast:Lachlan Buchanan, Xavier Samuel, Reshad Strik
- Release Date:November 06, 2008
- Running time:106 minutes
- Film Worth:$10.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
“…an engaging yarn…”
Dan Castle of New Castle, USA directs this variant of Stand By Me dropped into the surf culture of Newcastle, NSW. He largely succeeds thanks to the solid performance of Xavier Samuel (September) and the striking underwater lensing of DOP Richard Michalak. There's a deep familiarity to this tale of friendship struck in the fires of tragedy, and the emerging understanding that grows between teenage Jesse (Lachlan Buchanan) and his twin brother Fergus (Samuel). Yet it's given a welcome tweak of freshness due to the cast and its location, plus a rewarding subplot of emerging sexuality.
The Junior Surf Pro is only weeks away and Jesse - grappling with the long shadow of his aggressive brother, Victor (Reshad Strik), a surf champ who missed his shot at the big time - wants to stake his own wave. To ease up on the pressure, he and a bunch of mates plan a weekend away, but are uncomfortably joined by his awkward brother Fergus. Then Victor arrives and a weekend of sun, surf and sex takes a sudden, dark turn.
Newcastle is a good looking film that cheerily opens a window on a teenage, beachside Australia seldom seen on film. The cast is compelling and Castle's treatment of gay themes within the masculine surf culture is honest and winningly free of cloying sentiment. Less certain is his engagement with family turmoil that lands heavily on a story light on character depth and investment. It's all expressive uproar and unexplored backstory. Nonetheless, Newcastle is an engaging yarn buoyed by spectacular surf action. Emotional discord aside, it will strike the right note with any teenage surfie heading to the beach this summer.