Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Cate Blanchett, Ernie Dingo, Bradley Byquar, Paul Caesar, Bob Maza
Director: Kate Woods
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Much More Than A Murder Mystery
Albert B. Dean Jr. | Bloomington, Indiana, USA | 02/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Labeled a murder mystery, BURNED BRIDGE is much more than that. This 13-part series, made in 1994, offers a fascinating look into the contemporary life of people in a small town outside of Sydney, NSW, Australia. The main characters are Beth Ashton, a newly divorced white Australian who has arrived to stay at the house she has just inherited, and Vincent Burunga, the town's police liaison officer for the Aboriginal community. Just after Beth arrives, an Aborigine girl is killed, and the police apprehend the victim's Aborigine boyfriend for the crime on scant evidence. The murder and the arrest upset the community, and the story brings us into the life there, with its fragile relations between white and black, and other problems which trouble the community (unemployment, reliance on welfare, alcoholism, theft). There is also a subplot dealing with the removal of a half-white child from his Aborigine mother to a white family, and the repercussions when as a grown man he is confronted with the truth. Mid-way through the series, as the relationship between Beth and Vincent develops, Vincent returns to his native Western Australia on family business, and Beth accompanies him. This two-part interlude offers them a break from the daily existence and tensions back East, and provides the viewer with some stunning Outback landscapes and glimpses into Vincent's traditional culture. Late in the series, Beth and Vincent go to Sydney, where Beth has to deal with family business of her own. It is here that she also has to reassess ties to the people back in her urban world.The series is interestingly written and brilliantly acted. CATE BLANCHETT as Beth already shows a fascinating and talented screen presence, a few years before her break-through role in the feature film ELIZABETH. Her character enters a complex world with which she apparently has had little contact. Beth's inquisitiveness earns her the ridicule of the Aborigines, but it is her open-mindedness which allows her to exist as a close neighbor to the black community. Her character is a relief from the prejudiced whites all too present elsewhere in the series. ERNIE DINGO, another talented actor seen in several Australian films and TV series, plays Vincent, whose shortness of words and whose willingness to accept the world in a non-questioning way are sometimes infuriating for Beth. His character offers a dramatic contrast to hers.Okay, this is serious stuff: there is mystery, emotional trauma and interpersonal conflict. There is social narrative; viewers in the U.S. will probably see similarities to life in small-town America, particularly where black and white live side by side. There is the window into Aboriginal culture, both traditional and contemporary. There is romance, fittingly not of the saccharine variety. Together with the merits already mentioned, the Outback scenery and a very nice soundtrack, it makes a most compelling series. Originally shot on video, the transfer is quite good. The DVD package, as with at least one other Australian series (SNOWY) released in North America by BFS Entertainment, includes a short documentary to supplement the feature, as well as cast information and production notes. This is one series well worth watching, and because it covers a lot of ground - literally and figuratively - it can and should be watched more than once. I was sorry when it ended."
Burning Bridges...And Building New Ones
A. M. Burnette | US | 01/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This story centers around a black community in Australia and particularly Vincent (played by Ernie Dingo) who works for the local police department as a liaison officer and Beth (played by Cate Blanchett) who moves into the community with the intention of fixing up and selling her late grandfather's house. As Beth becomes more involved in the community, she develops relationships that are more important to her than she would have though possible. Throughout the many important events played out in the series (divorce, murder, traditions, newfound relatives, friendship, and love) a theme of awareness about strained relationships and inequalities between white and black people living in Australia is ever present as the characters face hardships and burn the bridges of their pasts.
Ernie Dingo has an instant charm that shines through in this miniseries. Cate Blanchett has been called a human chameleon with the face of an angel, but her hearty laugh and incredibly endearing child-like quality shows through in everything she does. All of the actors in this series are very impressive and easily make the viewer want to invest themselves in the characters' fates. The story plays out like a good book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story as well as a challenge to think outside their own "boxes" to see a different view."
Burned bridge - mesmerizing
B. D McEwen | Texas | 08/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After spending some time in many parts of Australia I related so much to this series I couldn't get enough. The outback, deserts, Sydney, the challanged overlooked tribes, the racial tension, the love story, and the murder thriller...I can't say enough. Cate Blanchette and Ernie Dingo gave completely believable performances without overdoing it. The actor Ernie Dingo who played the aboriginal character Vincent Burunga should take extra bows. I watched this series 5 times so far and wlll watch it again. Even the music was ideally Australian."