Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Rage in Placid Lake|
Actors: Jordan Brooking, Ben Lee (II), Rose Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Lucas Fraccaro
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Placid Lake (Ben Lee) has always been different. His crayon eating scientific genius of a best friend, Gemma (Rose Byrne), also has a few issues with "blending in." As an odd fish in a sea of mediocrity, Placid's brillia... more »
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'The Rage in Placid Lake' is a gem.
Trevar Alan Chilver | Canberra, Australia | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe I didn't hear about this film when it was released. I must have missed The Movie Show that particular week. I saw the DVD on the shelf of my local video shop, while it was in the New Releases section. I saw the cover, loved the word-play in the title, and, thinking it was American, I told myself I would get it out when it gets moved to the weekly section.
I saw it, in the weekly section, some time later, and I read the blurb on the back and thought, `that sounds really interesting, I'll get it out someday'. Then last week, I picked it up again, and noticed the Australian Film Finance Corporation named on the back. I was in. I hired it, took it home, and loved every minute.
From the first scene, `The Rage in Placid Lake' sets itself up to be taken only semi-seriously. The parents of Placid Lake, our hero, are, as his name would suggest, extreme New Agers. We first meet Placid at primary school, where his mother drops him off in a dress, admonishing him to challenge the other children's pre-conceived notions of sexuality. Between flashbacks to his childhood, the film follows Placid's transition from school to work, which is fraught with stresses. Having failed to achieve happiness following his parents' advice, Placid takes a new tack: he gets his hair cut like George W. Bush, buys a suit, and lands a job with an insurance company. All of which is most distressing to his best friend Gemma, and his parents, who go to great lengths to shake him out of this Capitalist madness.
Writer and Director Tony McNamara has worked primarily in theatre, and has also written for television, including Southern Star's magnificent `The Secret Life of Us'. His background in the theatre, however, lends this film a very intimate and human touch. He had originally thought of this story as a play, but rightly judged it to be more suited to film, and made adjustments accordingly. The result is a film that stands out as something fresh, something that takes old ideas and stereotypes, and employs them to great effect.
While the characters in this film can be described as caricatures, Placid's journey into adulthood-his discovery of himself and of his relationships-resonates with such humanity that the suspension of disbelief is no effort. The pathos with which the characters are written boldly emphasises McNamara's assertion that we must be true to ourselves.
The most remarkable aspect of this film, however, remains the sad fact that so few people have seen it or even heard about it. It is an example of the magnificent films being produced in this country, and highlights the miserable plight of Australian filmmakers, overshadowed by the monstrous marketing ploys of their American counterparts. `The Rage in Placid Lake' may not quite be as noteworthy in the history of Australian film as `Jedda' or `Mad Max' or `Romper Stomper', but it makes a profound statement about humanity that sits somewhat uncomfortably in a world of Free Trade Agreements and `Wars on Terror'. What's more, it makes that statement beautifully."
Charming, unique, funny
Stephen B. Dwyer | Syosset, NY USA | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this movie.
The characters were real even though they were unusual. I cared about them, I loved them. They were well developed even though they were representitive arch types.
When the movie was over, I wished it weren't. To me it is a quirky work of genius, maybe even more so because of it's wonderful, gentle, directing, the perfect acting."
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 03/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ben Lee, as he is known in his 6 CD releases, or Benny Lee as he is billed in this film, stars as Placid Lake, a kid brought up by quintessential new age parents who are overly permissive. To equip him with a different perspective, they send him to elementary school in a dress. Garry McDonald who played the Doctor in "Moulin Rouge" plays daddy Doug Lake, a bit controlled by his better half. Miranda Richardson plays his mother Sylvia who wants to study native life in Tuuvalu while also experimenting with same gender physical satisfaction. The two-time Oscar nominee Richardson plays the role vividly on a similar scale to her Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Widescreen Edition). Placid's best friend is Gemma Taylor, a brainiac who also doesn't fit in. Gemma is played by Rose Byrne who won the Best Actress Volpi Cup award in 2000 from the Venice International Film Festival for Goddess of 1967. She has also played in "Troy," "Wicker Park," and "Two Hands" with Heath Ledger. She & Lee generate an offbeat chemistry. Placid's rebellion leads him to pattern his dress and hair after American president George W. Bush. This leads him to being hired into an insurance firm and fast tracked with Jane played by Saskia Smith who likes to take pleasure breaks in the stationery closet. Placid fends off three attackers and persuades one dimwitted student to chain himself without clothes to Gemma's table leg by a dog collar in order to win her affections. Australian playwright Tony McNamara adapted the screenplay from his stage play "The Cafe Latte Kid." Film Movement has presented another unusual international film that is well worth seeing. Enjoy!"
Fluffy -- but it has Rose and Miranda
J. A. Eyon | Seattle - USA | 05/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a goofy, lightweight Australian comedy about a teenaged genius named Placid Lake who forsakes his hippie upbringing after suffering continual physical abuse at the hands of school classmates. So, he dresses like George W. Bush and joins an insurance firm. Of course, things don't turn out quite as planned.
I don't watch THE OFFICE (British or American versions) but I imagine the quirky comedy in those must be something like this. If it weren't for the brazenly sexual moments (sans nudity), this would make a television sitcom... or it might still make a television sitcom.
The movie has dreams of being a profound message film but the result is so lacking in depth that it winds up half-hearted -- spinning mixed messages on the issues of parental expectations, conformity and non-conformity, and a not-so-mixed message on vengeance. So, pick your interpretation. Or better yet, don't bother. Just enjoy the pastel visuals (this was obviously not an American production), the charming actors and just-funning attitude.
Two of my favorites are here. Britisher Miranda Richardson and Aussi Rose Byrne (looking like the prettiest girl-geek ever). Coincidently, when I first saw Rose (THE GODDESS OF 1967), I kept thinking of other actresses she reminded of -- Jessica Alba, Shannon Doherty, and Miranda Richardson. Too bad Miranda plays the boy's mother here."