View Post

The Terminal List

Action, Home, Prime Video, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

After a mission gone wrong, Navy SEAL James Reece (Chris Pratt) returns home as the lone survivor of his platoon. Suffering from a head wound and possible hallucinations, James is forced to piece together the events leading to the ambush that killed his men, and soon finds himself in the middle of a convoluted web of deception and betrayal way above his pay grade.

Based on the best-selling novels by former Navy SEAL Jack Carr, The Terminal List fits the mould of the kind of classic action thriller that had its heyday in the ‘90s. Teaming up with his Magnificent Seven collaborator Chris Pratt, Antoine Fuqua takes on the dual mantle of Executive Producer and director of the pilot episode, delivering a bullet-riddled vengeance ride reminiscent of his military vigilante flick Shooter.

At its core, it’s the kind of fast-paced revenge thriller fuelled by patriotism and firepower we’ve seen time and time again, but the layers of political intrigue and psychological twists Carr throws into the mix add just enough tension to keep the plot fresh.

Constance Wu does what she can with her exposition-heavy role as Katie Buranek, the journalist digging into Reece’s story. Her innate charisma manages to keep her scenes from fading into the background when pitted against high-octane explosions and knife-fights, but it’s a shame that she wasn’t given more to do.

Given its origins as a book series well known for its relentless action, the story makes a difficult transition to the screen — after dropping us into the deep end of a war zone with the opening scenes, the pacing takes a hit as Reece works through his recovery and reconnects with his family back on the homefront. The ensuing conspiracy makes for an enticing puzzle, but unfortunately the plot twists are predictable enough to keep them from being truly memorable.

Intrigue and paranoia coalesce into standard-issue twists and turns, but with Fuqua’s deft hand at the helm, the tension is consistent enough to make this a bingeable watch.

Share:
 
View Post

Night Sky

Home, Prime Video, Review, sci-fi, Streaming, Television, This Week 1 Comment

Laced with intrigue, the new science-fiction drama series, Night Sky, follows an array of characters, centring on an elderly couple, Irene and Franklin York, played by Oscar winners Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons.

The Yorks lead a simple life in their quiet hometown in Illinois. Except, their mundane exterior is not quite as it seems. Many years ago, Irene and Franklin discovered an ancient chamber concealed in their garden shed, with the ability to transport them to an observer station, overlooking a desolate alien planet with an exquisite night sky. However, this mysterious chamber turns out to be much more than either of them had initially imagined.

The pair have been coming here for years to sit in awe of the planet’s beauty and ponder the possibilities of its existence. But this shared secret that has long bonded their union is now becoming a dividing factor in the Yorks’ marriage. As Irene’s health is steadily declining, Franklin suspects that these frequent trips are beginning to take a toll.

On one occasion when visiting ‘The Stars’, as the Yorks have dubbed it, Irene finds a bloody and unconscious stranger in the hidden chamber. Shocked at his appearance, the Yorks bring him home. Once awake, the perplexing young man introduces himself as Jude. He claims to suffer from amnesia and have no recollection of his former life. While Franklin is suspicious of the newcomer’s inexplicable existence, Irene is reminded of her late son Michael and embraces him with open arms, and proceeds to help Jude with his pursuit of answers about his hazy past.

In the second episode, the series takes an unusual shift that will have you wondering if you’re still watching the same show. In rural Argentina, we are introduced to Stella (Julieta Zylberberg) and Toni (Roco Hernández), a mother and daughter who live an extremely secluded lifestyle. As Toni comes of age and enters high school, she begins to desire more from her sheltered upbringing. This creates a tumultuous relationship between her and mum as Stella battles to keep Toni unaware of their family’s secret legacy and why they must guard an ancient chapel on their land. However, upon the arrival of a shady figure from Stella’s past, she is forced to introduce her daughter into a world of turbulence and danger.

The stories run parallel as the show continues, before inevitability converging in later episodes.

Spacek and Simmons give Night Sky its gravity, their onscreen partnership demonstrating a warm affection for one another. Spacek in particular shines as Irene, conveying a tender presence in every scene, while Simmons brings a vulnerability to his portrayal of Franklin. Kiah McKirnan plays the Yorks’ concerned granddaughter and Adam Bartley plays the sceptical neighbour, but these characters feel like unnecessary filler against the Yorks and mother-daughter duo Stella and Toni.

While Night Sky has an alluring sense of mystery, the sluggish pace and scattered tone, switching between the Yorks in Illinois and Stella and Toni in Argentina, make it difficult to view the series as one cohesive story and not two totally different shows. Also, Night Sky’s focus on relationships and themes of love and loss overshadow the hollow sci-fi plot – a McGuffin if you will. Although it takes its time to build to any real tension, Simmons and Spacek continue to keep audiences engaged.

Performance driven and not particularly ground-breaking, the slow burn sci-fi drama Night Sky relies on its drawcards of Simmons and Spacek to foster its appeal, and thankfully, the two seasoned actors make the trip worthwhile.

Share:
 
View Post

All the Old Knives

Home, Prime Video, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

CIA operatives and ex-lovers Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) and Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton) sit down to dinner together at a seaside restaurant, hoping to reconnect after years apart. Over a lavish meal, Henry’s inquiries veer from the personal to the professional, and the quiet catch-up swerves into interrogation territory as Henry searches for explanations to his unanswered questions regarding a disastrous plane hijacking that they worked together eight years ago.

Trying to connect the pieces of a case that never sat quite right, Henry and Celia embark on a twisting tale of spy-vs-spy, where each new answer leads to more questions, and years of trading in secrets and lies makes it impossible to know who to trust.

Writer Olen Steinhauer (The Tourist) adapts his own novel of the same name for the screen, taking a non-linear route to divulge the many secrets that his characters have been keeping. The main story is told in flashbacks, which leads to a slow and messy beginning. As each new layer is revealed across the dinner table, however, what began as a disorienting and somewhat dull blow-by-blow of events quickly becomes a tense, smart and increasingly absorbing tale of intrigue and betrayal.

A far cry from the James Bond-esque brand of spy films, All the Old Knives’ tension comes from an atmosphere of mounting unease rather than explosions or gunfights. Director Janus Metz Pedersen (True Detective) together with cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen (A Quiet Place) create a suspenseful and emotionally intense environment out of what is ultimately a static setting; the use of extreme close-ups managing to highlight both the intimacy between the leads and the increasing claustrophobia of the situation.

All the elements of a thriller are present and accounted for — mystery, romance, betrayal — but by restricting the espionage entirely to flashbacks while the real-time story unfolds between the main course and dessert, the film hinges on the connection between the two leads sitting across from one another at the dinner table. Thankfully Pine and Newton share a captivating chemistry, and their interactions are enjoyable enough to keep the slow unfolding of the plot from dragging too heavily.

Share:
 
View Post

Stardust

Biopic, Home, Home Entertainment, Review, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

Gabriel Range’s inert biopic of rock icon David Bowie starts with what can only be called a disclaimer: What you are about to see is (mostly) fictional. Thank heavens for that, because if the film had any real grain of truth to it, the audience would be left thinking that Bowie was perhaps the most boring man on the planet who ever achieved rock superstardom.

The year is 1971 and Bowie (Johnny Flynn) is trying to publicise his less than successful album The Man Who Sold the World. With the spectre of his early success with Space Oddity hovering over him, Bowie is at a crossroads. His label, Mercury Records, decide to send him to the States to promote the album, which is sinking there. However, due to a general lack of interest in the album and a star they see on the decline, they fail to gain any of the proper paperwork which will allow Bowie to perform, and instead saddle him with the struggling publicist, Ron Oberman (Marc Maron) for an interview tour. The problem is that Oberman no longer has the pull he once had in the industry and Bowie himself is self-sabotaging what little press he is given.

Billed as a film that documents the trip across America which inspired Bowie to take on the mantle of Ziggy Stardust, there is little in the movie that actually suggests the journey was responsible for his shift into the greatest chameleon rock has ever known. The questions posed to him during the failed press junket hint that Bowie is uncomfortable discussing himself or his music, but that discomfort is layered with personal tragedy that appears to be the impetus for the musician’s reticence. In a series of flashbacks, we see Bowie’s half-brother Terry Burns (Derek Moran) slowly slip into a schizophrenic state – one that Bowie believes is eventually coming for him as well. Promoting an album that delves into the fractured mind is wearing on Bowie, especially as he is given virtually no support from his label, nor from his wife Angie (Jena Malone) back in England.

Bowie’s estate prohibited the filmmakers from using any of his music and this fact immediately hampered the production. Whenever the audience sees Bowie perform, he’s playing someone else’s music. There’s no sense of “Bowie” to Bowie – and although Johnny Flynn is an accomplished musician in his own right, he barely manages to capture Bowie’s intonation and style. Flynn is too good for the part, with the film’s writers Range and Christopher Bell giving him little to do except act stressed and occasionally preen. Marc Maron as Oberman is more convincing, delivering a solid performance that allows for at least some audience empathy for both men. Oberman is on the skids, but his boundless enthusiasm and general good humour in the face of near ruin is neatly captured by Maron.

Perhaps Bowie will always be some kind of cipher in the history of rock because of his constant changes of style and musical direction. However, he was also one of the most eloquent rock stars to ever be interviewed. Thousands of hours of real-life footage show that he knew exactly when to speak and when to stay silent. Flynn’s version of Bowie doesn’t line up with that man at all. In the end, what the audience is left with is a Bowie that couldn’t articulate himself and one that couldn’t perform either. It’s disappointing fare for fans and is likely to make them feel like they’ve been presented with a shadow of a shadow instead of a depiction of one of the most fascinating figures in pop culture.

Share:
 
View Post

The Power of the Dog

Home, Home Entertainment, Netflix, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week, Western Leave a Comment

As the pandemic continues to make its mark, the film industry has adapted beyond the confines of Hollywood. The Power of the Dog is a prime example of this as Oscar-winning writer/director Jane Campion takes gritty Western characteristics of a 1920s Montana back to her home country of New Zealand. It’s not the first place your mind wanders to when thinking of American cowboys. And yet, she transforms this unlikely landscape into an impressive aesthetic of long cattle drives and hardened men, as an unforgiving Benedict Cumberbatch trades his Marvel cape for chaps. With a tongue that whips and wounds, he leaves none standing as his rattlesnake animosity pairs with a soundtrack that pulls you to the edge of your seat then lingers, waiting…

Cumberbatch plays Phil, a staunch alpha rancher championing traditional 1900s masculinity and the toxicity of this mindset. This attitude bounces off “Fatso”, his brother George (Jesse Plemons), a more domesticated man set on evolving with the times. George’s sensitivities give Phil all the ammunition he needs to fire at his confidence, as bullets ricochet to all surrounding him. It’s at a restaurant that Phil turns on Rose (Kirsten Dunst), a sweet widow who cares for her quiet son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). They struggle to survive his menace, causing Rose to break down. George comforts her and falls in love, later marrying her and spending less time with Phil. This change causes a fracture that Phil counters with tormenting mind games until an unlikely bond forms with Peter.

Campion and cinematographer Ari Wegner do an outstanding job filling each frame with vast expanses that emphasise the isolation of the West. But where they truly thrive together is in the intimate subtext of close-ups. A piercing eye from Peter after Phil’s merciless teasing, a vulnerable Rose at a piano in front of prominent figures, or George’s dithering gaze give the audience a genuine sense of character. But none come close to the work of Cumberbatch, whose eyes pierce like arrows, and filthy appearance glues his feet to tradition. Silence becomes just as dangerous as words, and there’s a visceral fear lingering beneath the surface – a feeling some viewers will want to run from, but the soundtrack carries you right back.

Speaking of the soundtrack, The Power of the Dog takes the unspoken torment of the landscape to a new level. The phenomenal composing by Jonny Greenwood becomes a character in itself, lying dormant in some scenes and emphasising mental states in others, much to the style of his work on projects like Phantom Thread and There Will Be Blood. Phil’s nostalgia for a past mentor named Bronco Henry spurs wisps of song that hint at a relationship more intimate than just teacher and student. Then, it flips to rising strings and plucking violins at a moment’s notice as Rose spirals out of control with alcohol, Peter’s boy-like wonder leads him astray, and Phil stands as the puppeteer concealing his true desires out of fear for his masculinity. Each character strand spreads out like a hand before closing into a violent fist.

The Power of the Dog boils down to themes of gender, examining masculinity and the dangerous desires of the early settler. It’s a brilliant film, confident in its story and bold in its ability to drive you to the edge of your seat. Campion carefully peels back layers to reveal complex, three-dimensional characters that escape cliché and reveal a hierarchy of tradition that can only survive for so long. It’s intriguing to experience, leaving much to interpretation but giving enough to assume meaning. While it may be a slow burn, the end has you by the heels as Phil desperately conceals his desire and George champions the future. The cost is everyone around them.

Share:
 
View Post

The Protégé

Action, Home, Prime Video, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

A stacked cast and straightforward story make The Protégé an easy-to-digest romp, though the assassin caper doesn’t live up to the Bond-esque heights of its director, Martin Campbell.

From the outset, The Protégé sets itself up for big suspense. In the world of assassins, the art of deceit means not only getting the job done but a performative means of survival. Take for instance the film’s lead, Anna (Maggie Q); a self-assured bookshop owner who, when she isn’t attending to her rare collection of classic literature (Poe, anyone?), assists her “adoptive” Father Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) as a hired gun. Their relationship is wrapped in a loving-yet-unwonted undertone, with the childish-in-demeanour Moody having taken the orphaned Anna under his wing while on a mission in Vietnam thirty years earlier.

With the past now back to haunt them, the murder-adept pair must reckon with their unsevered loose ends, bringing them into contact with big baddies (Michael Keaton) and past acquaintances (Robert Patrick).

Screenwriter Richard Wenk leans into familiar actioner cat-and-mouse territory to the point that the film lacks distinguishable flare. There is a sense of seriousness that counteracts the film’s infrequent lightheartedness, which becomes apparent when inherently charming actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton, each possessing their own gravitational pull, appear on-screen. Maggie Q is effective as the skilful Anna, though it is to the detriment of the film that she is never allowed to embrace the bombast of an action star. She is played so straight-faced that it denies the film any long-lasting sense of levity. Anna’s interactions with Keaton’s character, ‘Rembrandt,’ pursued in both combat and flirtation, are particularly odd, feeling less Mr. and Mrs. Smith and more Miss Guided.

Of course, in a film where straightforwardness and familiarity are key to its charm, there ought to be some spicy action. Combat scenes, left largely to fisticuffs, do offer solid thrills and bear some resemblance to Campbell’s exemplary work in Casino Royale. The enterprising Anna more than holds her own, with close-up brawls packing much-needed heat in a film that otherwise lacks zest and self-awareness.

Share:
 
View Post

Tick, Tick… BOOM!

Home, Musical, Netflix, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

Tick, Tick…BOOM! is a much-needed palate cleanser for Andrew Garfield after the tedious discourse over his web-slinging place in the MCU. Here, he plays an acentric, neurotic Broadway wannabe darting around the screen insecure and confident, an oxymoron that says more about the pressures of his character than anything. Frazzled hair matches his writer’s block that feels reminiscent of films like Adaptation and Barton Fink to a lesser degree. It’s director Lin-Manuel Miranda’s love letter to Broadway, but what lies beneath is a heart-wrenching study into vulnerable artists striving to be seen and begging for opportunity at whatever cost. Time ticks for almost two hours, resulting in an existential rollercoaster some might find exhausting, but fans of musicals will be in awe of this true story.

The film is a musical about making a musical based on the life of gifted Rent writer/composer Jonathan Larson. Rewinding a few years, Larson (Garfield) is on the cusp of thirty and losing steam in his dreams of taking the world by storm like his idol Stephen Sondheim. Larson struggles with a futuristic sci-fi musical that’s been on his old computer for eight years but suddenly lands a crucial workshop production despite his lack of a second-act solo. Outside of writing, his social life circles the drain as his lack of money undercurrents his girlfriend’s desire to leave for a job in the Berkshires and the devastating effect AIDS has had on his friends. The sobering theme of time materialises in many ways, but the death of those before their prime hits like a train, and writer Steven Levenson handles it with the utmost delicacy.

Tick, Tick… BOOM! comfortably switches between Larson’s life and a stage musical. The latter is undeniably personal, like a viewing window into Larson’s brain as he says what’s really on his mind while the outside Larson struggles. Some will find his erratic behaviour obnoxious as his pursuit of fame pushes everyone around him away. It can be exhausting when the runtime nears two hours, and the constant ticking proves Alfred Hitchcock’s mantra of “There’s no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” The dread of expected turmoil lurks beneath a façade of upbeat songs and set pieces.

Speaking of set pieces, Lin-Manuel Miranda not only ups the energy but also exhibits a profound understanding of passion, struggle, and the eccentricities of creative writing through his own experiences. He’s always looking for a way to show the uniqueness in the mundane and what’s clear is the artistic experimentation with camera and character. A scene in a lap pool adds swirls of style and eureka moments for Larson, removing all outside elements and leaving you and the character in an intimate moment of breakthrough that inspires and motivates.

Tick, Tick… BOOM! does exactly as the title says. It highlights the power of dedication and encourages you never to give up. A scene where Larson stares at a blank screen with the only word “you’re” followed by a blinking text cursor… rings far too accurate for writers as he changes it to “your” and back again. You can feel Lin-Manuel Miranda’s comedic presence (watch out for his blink and you’ll miss it cameo as a diner cook) as he inserts his experience into the story world but doesn’t keep it restricted. He opens up the stage to offset comedy with fundamental issues of acceptance, loss and looking up every once in a while. Andrew Garfield shines in cool overalls while the rest, unfortunately, don’t even glimmer, but that’s kind of the point. The spotlight is on Garfield, and it will remain on him come awards season.

Share:
 
View Post

The Marksman

Home, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

Every now and then, a video goes viral online that superimposes an iconic actor’s face onto another iconic role to largely humorous effect. Think Sylvester Stallone in Terminator 2 or Nicolas Cage cast as Maria Von Trapp. These Deepfakes come to mind when you watch The Marksman, starring Liam Neeson, which feels like someone has been playing around with a Clint Eastwood film.

That’s no surprise when you consider that the film’s director, Robert Lorenz has produced a number of Clint’s films including American Sniper and Gran Torino. He’s even directed the grizzled actor in 2012’s Trouble with the Curve. The influence is heavy, and The Marksman shares enough DNA that it’s hard not to think of this is an actual Eastwood joint.

Eastwood, Sorry Neeson, plays Jim Hanson, a former US Marine sniper and two-time Vietnam vet now turned rancher. Living on the Arizona-Mexico border, Hanson lives out his days tending to his cattle, shooting coyotes and, when necessary, reporting people jumping the border into America. Lorenz is quick to show that although he does so, he does it with a heavy heart of gold.

This routine is broken when Hanson literally runs into Miguel (Jacob Perez) and his mother, Rosa (Teresa Ruiz) being chased by the Mexican cartel. One shootout later and Hanson finds himself reluctantly taking the young Miguel to on a trip to Chicago, where Rosa’s family will take him in. All the while, gangster Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba) and his cronies follow in hot pursuit. As he and Miguel make their way cross country, Hanson learns what it means to be human again, while teaching his young ward how to look after himself. (Spoiler alert: it involves guns.)

The Marksman is very much by the numbers, offering little in the way of surprises and leaning in a little too hard on the ol’ Mexican stereotypes. However, as our protagonist, Neeson is the solvent that keeps everything together. Having announced earlier this year that he would be retiring from action films, The Marksman shows the actor in a more sombre role when compared to the Taken series. Having lost his wife to cancer, and drowning in medical bills, Hanson is the archetypal loner, begrudgingly helping others not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it’s the American way.

In The Marksman, Neeson is not the bullet spitting superman of yesterday; he’s a man in his late sixties. As such, there is a vulnerability to Hanson that makes him realistically human, even if everything else around him is somewhat cartoonish. By no means the worst film in Neeson’s action portfolio, The Marksman is possibly his most reflective and, dare we say it, emotional.

Share:
 
View Post

After We Fell

Home, Prime Video, Review, Streaming, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

Tessa (Australian Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) are back for the third instalment of the much loved After series. There have been a few roles that have been recast as a result of scheduling conflicts and the decision to move filming to Bulgaria, but the lead characters, much to fans’ glee, are still the same.

After, the first of the series written by Anna Todd as a fan fiction inspired by Harry Styles, initially came out chapter by chapter on Wattpad, becoming so popular that over 688 million people read it. With a book deal and movie adaptation, the graphic novel of After is next, available for pre-order on Amazon, to be released March next year.

The second film, After We Collided, continued the fraught relationship between Tessa and Hardin, ending with the reappearance of Tessa’s father. After We Fell picks up right where the second film left off.

If you haven’t seen the previous two films and come to After We Fell as your first foray into the world of Hardin and Tessa, aka Hessa, you will be very confused. The film relies on the audience having knowledge of the characters’ history together and everything that has occurred in After and After We Collided. While you are still able to watch the film on its own, it does become difficult to understand where all the tension between the characters comes from, without knowing their history with one another.

From the beginning of the film, Hardin is unlikeable, and his behaviour, coupled with constant outbursts of anger, is that of a spoiled child. That and Tessa’s foolishness in her interactions with him doesn’t make this an enjoyable watch. If you have been on the journey since the original fan fiction or love One Direction, then the film might be more engaging.

There isn’t much dialogue, and the film relies on music to set the scenes, along with lingering and pained looks from the leads. The dialogue is hushed while the music is loud, which is jarring when it switches between the two. The movie is really exactly what it is: a fan fiction with awkward dialogue and scenes created that its target audience would want to see. The movies deal with serious themes but they are impossible to take seriously as they are delivered in such an irritating way.

The latest film, and the series in general, has the typical cliché scenes that are in all young adult romances. At one point, Hardin says to Tessa about her father “He’s going to hurt you,” as though he himself had never hurt Tessa in their relationship… Then, of course, there is the very convenient plot point – when Tessa leaves her diaries behind when she moves to Seattle, in an open box no less – to help Hardin become more understanding of Tessa’s emotions.

The books showed people what a toxic relationship was and how you need to leave those type of people in the past. The movie, unfortunately, doesn’t do a very good job telling us that Hardin’s behaviour is definitely not okay… even though he may be able to change for the better.

The storyline isn’t an overly complicated one and even the dramatic moments and cliff-hangers are able to be spotted from miles away. Admittedly, the film does become more engaging the longer it is watched, and the characters seem to mature, but it is hard to know if this will continue, based on this recurring pattern in previous instalments of the series. Each film feels like a chapter of a bigger story. Luckily for fans, the ‘to be continued’ at the end of the film means the story is far from over and the fourth film, which was filmed at the same time as this one, will be highly anticipated by After fans.

Ultimately, Tessa and Hardin’s inability to be fully open with one another always causes one of them to become suspicious of the other person’s actions. This creates misunderstandings and arguments and the repetitive cycle in their relationship going from good to bad is the embodiment of a toxic relationship. It’s surprising that in today’s culture that this is actually romanticised. Anyone remember what happened to Last Tango in Paris?

 

Share:
 
View Post

Our African Roots

Australian, Documentary, Home, Review, Television, This Week Leave a Comment

In the documentary, Our African Roots, author/journalist Santilla Chingaipe brings to life the stories and details of Australia’s Black African history. While everyone knows of the First Fleet, they may not be aware that there were at least ten men of African descent who arrived onboard in 1788.

This documentary, part of SBS’s Australia Uncovered series, highlights just a few people in our history who were of African heritage and how they have contributed to Australia’s history.

John Randall, John Caesar, William Blue, John Joseph, Fanny Finch, William Davies, and Ernest Toshack are a few people from Australia’s history who helped shape the country today. They are all of African descent and while many of us would not have heard the names before, this documentary highlights the struggles and accomplishments which they achieved in our history.

John Randall’s ability to hunt with a rifle set him apart from the local indigenous community. He could then be viewed as someone coming from being oppressed to being an oppressor. Slave and convict labour was very profitable, but in Australia, almost immediately, convicts began to resist. Our first convict bush ranger wasn’t Ned Kelly but John Caesar in 1789, but he wasn’t as highly celebrated as Ned Kelly simply because of his race. William (Billy) Blue is credited with creating the first licensed ferry service. Governor Lachlan Macquarie was friends with Billy and saw him as the ideal type of reformed convict.

The Eureka Rebellion in 1854 is a well-known event in Australian history. John Joseph allegedly fatally wounded the British officer who was leading the offensive. He was arrested and charged for high treason in Victoria’s Supreme Court but found not guilty. Fanny Finch was a single mother of four and the first known woman to cast a vote in an Australian election, on the 22nd of January, 1856. She was able to do this due to a loophole in the suffrage law which stated that any rate paying person was able to vote. The loophole was closed in 1865 when “persons” became “men”.

In 1901, the Immigration Restriction Act passed into law, which marked the beginning of the White Australia policy. At a 1916 conscription rally, Billy Hughes says to go and fight for White Australia in France. While the enlistment laws stated that the person must be of European descent, because of high losses at war, race was ignored when people were enlisting. This is where William Davies goes to fight in Gallipoli. Ernest Toshack was a cricketer during 1946-48 and was part of the ‘Invincible’ team with Don Bradman, nicknamed “The Black Prince”.

Due to the White Australia policy, most of our non-white history is not shared with Australians, and this documentary keeps these historical figures alive in an entertaining way, with the potential by-product of allowing us to escape our racial past and to progress towards a truer multicultural society with a shared history for all.

Share: