The Combination

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:David Field
  • Cast:George Basha, Clare Bowen, Michael Denkha, Firass Dirani, Doris Younane
  • Release Date:February 26, 2009
  • Distributor:Australian Film Syndicate
  • Running time:93 minutes
  • Film Worth:$13.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…energised, richly atmospheric…”

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As well as his longtime career as an actor, iconic Aussie veteran David Field (Chopper, Gettin' Square, Ghosts...Of The Civil Dead, Two Hands) has also worked regularly as a dramaturg on feature films (Australian Rules, Suburban Mayhem), principally with young actors, so it's fitting that his first film as a director is a youth-driven coming-of-age drama. This one has a twist: it's set in Sydney's west, and largely within its Lebanese community. The film follows John, a young Lebanese-Australian man (screenwriter George Basha) just out of prison who has to take care of his family after the death of his father. His younger brother, Charlie (Firass Dirani), has begun dabbling in crime, running drugs for a local standover man (Michael Denkha) and butting heads with an Aussie gang led by the sneering, racist Scott (Vaughn White). Meanwhile, John embarks on an affirming but instantly troubled relationship with a young Anglo-Australian girl (Clare Bowen) with problems of her own.

Along with upcoming films like Two Fists, One Heart and The Cedar Boys, and recent ones such as Footy Legends and West, the energised, richly atmospheric The Combination has its sights set on a raw kind of Australian neo-realism. The film is based in part on screenwriter George Basha's life, and it resounds with the kind of earthy insider knowledge that you can only get from someone who intimately knows their subject matter. The film shows off parts of Sydney rarely seen on screen, and the young, disenfranchised Lebanese-Australian boys (played exceptionally well by a beautifully cast crew of newcomers) at the film's centre make for refreshingly atypical protagonists.

Working brilliantly as both entertainment and consciousness-raiser, The Combination marks an auspicious debut for David Field and his crop of equally dazzling young actors.

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