How do you celebrate Australia Day? If you’re anything like me you meet at the local park with neighbours and friends for a barbie and a game of cricket. You might listen to the hottest 100 or head to the coast for a day at the beach. Yet for some in our communities Australia Day is one of the most controversial days of the year. In the new film ‘Australia Day’ we are shown three intersecting stories woven together. They show the darker side of our nation on this special day. This riveting contemporary drama was shot entirely here in Brisbane, so the setting will be very familiar.
‘Australia Day’ is a Foxtel and Hoodlum co-production directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog). It showcases the acting skills of a who’s who of well known Australian actors and introduces us to some fine newcomers. The movie begins with three different chases. Indigenous teen April (Miah
Madden), young Chinese woman Lan (Jenny Wu) and Sam (Elias Anton) an Iranian- Australian teen are all on the run from something or someone.
As the stories unfold we meet farmer – Terry (Bryan Brown), indigenous policewoman – Sonia (Shari Sebbens) and homicide detective Mitchell Colyer (Matthew Le Nevez) who are caught up in a whirlpool of racism, violence and resentment which rages as the day unfolds.This tense story is told over a 12 hour period and had me and the audience at my screening hooked until the end.
Australia Day is an incredibly tight and taut production which manages to weave the separate stories together without confusing the viewer. You will feel compassion, disgust, tension, empathy and fear as the story moves towards its fatal climax.
Bryan Brown reminded me of Liam Neeson’s character in ‘Taken’ and I know Matthew Le Nevez fans (who will remember him from his role as Patrick on Offspring) will be happy to see him on the big screen in this grittier role. Shari Sebbens plays her role with strength and compassion and was very believable as policewoman Sonia MacKenzie. The young stars hold their own and each manages to highlight some of the prejudice and racism within this country that no-one really likes to talk about.
This film will make you think and will cause discussion long after the credits roll. If, like me, you are a big fan of intersecting dramas like ‘Crash’ and ‘Go’ you will enjoy this film.
Australia Day is in Dendy Cinemas on September 21 and the Foxtel Store from September 27.