Down Under Down and Dirty
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 01/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here's the mix: throw in a coupla Yank Mafia guys--Sal and Tony. Blend with an Aussie mob operation based in Sydney, circa early 70s. What's the op? Slot machines. This is what's driving Sal and Tony's boss after the money to be made. Made men means make money. How Jimmy, the Mafia boss, found out about all the cash in Sydney is beyond the scope of this flick. But that's OK. This works great. John Goodman is Tony, a kinda soft hearted Mafia soldier who's the perfect counterpart to Sal, his violent partner--shorter on brains and faster on the trigger finger (except when boar hunting). Bryan Brown is Barry, the main Aussie gangster who runs things in Sydney. Barry is married with a young son, but this doesn't stop him from cussing right to his kid's face or getting nasty when he has to.Barry's not big on any takeover from the Yanks. Who would be, with a nice steady income stream every week? Not even for a coupla mil. This leads to some punchy (literally) things taking place, not least of which is Barry's nephew taking up with Barry's mistress, a young know-it-all waitress. Barry's wife, played by Toni Colette in a great performance, takes none too kindly to the extracurricular shenanigans.And Barry's local rivals, one of whom was killed by Barry's men, are not exactly thrilled with Barry either. All this adds up to an edgy neo-noir with a unique Australian flavor. Very nifty. Writer-director David Caesar uses a hip, slice and dice jump-cutty style that is a teensy bit garish, but mostly works really well for the material. Skewed camera angles fit in with the period piece trappings--including spot on rock music and loud-color dress.A different kind of neo-noir, entertaining and fun. Recommended."