Friday, 7 September 2007

Sandra Hall says The Final Winter is 'about' "hot-blooded tribal loyalties versus cold-blooded corporatism" but she's wrong. Mat Nable's (pic) script is tight and it floats, but when you watch the movie you navigate broader waters than that narrow harbour.

True, the story is simple, but deceptively so. The boys interviewed on Village TV admit getting John Jarratt to play the 'evil' corporate (team owner-cum-real estate agent) was a coup. The kudos must go to Jarratt for picking such a great script.

Likewise Tom Kenneally, a bit player in the white coat of a gate attendant who ushers Grub and family into the grounds prior to his final game, is astute in consenting to appear, if briefly, on-screen.

Grub gets the only flashback -- to the sixties (??) -- when his old man takes him to the local (in then-working class Marrickville) -- for a beer. He's underage. No, father tells the youth, wait, "you've gotta let it breathe". 'Old-school' dad (complete with tat) then proceeds to serve an 'outsider' his deserts when an altercation arises over turning off the radio.

Jarratt's Perry 'Colgate' Murray is efficient, but this isn't Dickens. The bad guy, of course, will be right in the end: sport has gone corporate. But has it lost its 'soul'? Not if you go by attendances, which are probably higher than they've ever been, and are more inclusive. There will always be those who dislike violent sport (like I do), but Easts is now no longer labelled 'silver-tail' except as some sort of double-quote dig that has lost its sting.

Raelee Hill also gives a great performance as the mum with two children to look after while Grub tackles and gouges. Michelle Langstone, wife of Grub's brother and nemesis, gives a great performance as the aspirational Mia. This 'type' (shoulder pads, glossy lippy, chardonnay) is surely a model for Kath, of the Seven Network's flagship Australian drama Kath & Kim.

This is a stunning fucking good film, replete with the period tune 'Short Note' by Matt Finish (I loved the album in my twenties). Go see it.


R.H. said...

Jarret is the best actor in Australia. I've always though so, right from when I saw him in Picnic at Hanging Rock. I met the bloke who played the copper (Gil someone?) when I was a stallholder at Wantirna flea market. He bought something from me (mark that) BEFORE I recognised him and said "Are you an actor?" He said he was. I said, "I saw you in Picnic at Hanging rock."
Well I reckon he was pleased, but he went for a diversion: "It wasn't a bad film," he said. So I turned my noggin to let him know I meant business. "orrrrhhhh!" I told him, "It was marvellous. Just marvellous."

Dean said...