Callum Gault, Neil Goldsmith, Nick Capper
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Those with a penchant for these kind of indies will absolutely lap it up.
There’s seemingly nothing that can’t be solved by two people sitting down and having a good old chinwag. Add in a tipple of your choice and you’re onto a winner. Flapping your lips over a couple of beers appears to be the means to an end in Dia Taylor’s Aussie comedy, Marital Problems.
Former salesman Ian (Callum Gault) has been living at the bottom of a bottle since his fiancée jilted him. To make matters worse, it’s only when a tradie, McManus (Neil Goldsmith), arrives on his doorstep to do some home repairs, does Ian realise he’s about to be evicted. Before he has time to process this, Ian receives another visitor in the shape of Clarke (Nick Capper), an unfathomably hairy man who claims to be living in our hero’s shed and demanding to be paid for the lawn maintenance he’s been doing in place of rent.
We’re flung so quickly into Ian’s life that you find yourself having to play catch up rather quickly as the film top loads itself with exposition. For the first ten minutes, Marital Problems feels like it’s about to venture down some surreal pathway littered with Samuel Beckett dialogue about the existence of love. Once things settle down, however, Marital Problems finds the groove it’s aiming for.
Clarke discloses to Ian that he too is a casualty of marriage and the two men start to bond over their lost loves. Through their tales of woe, we learn that Ian’s work ethic – and overbearing boss – was the cause of his breakup, whilst Clarke’s complete lack of desire to achieve anything, punctured the tyres on his marital bliss.
All tooth and curls, Capper certainly makes this his film, as he practically steals every scene he’s in. The two men make a good go of wallowing in their own self-pity and as the film goes on, it becomes evident that they share more in common than lost love.
Shot around Melbourne, there’s a distinct Australian flavour reminiscent of Alex Lykos’ Me and My Left Brain, which came out last year. At times it can feel like a theatre production trapped on video, but then Taylor will pull out a bit of flourish that you hope to see more of as the film progresses. Those with a penchant for these kind of indies will absolutely lap it up.