|Black and White|
Lahiff's film is beautifully assembled to tell the story clearly and fairly. It grabs hold of us from the very beginning as we see a judicial system so clearly weighed in favour of the privileged classes, and of course our sympathies go immediately to the underdog. But the film is careful to present all sides of the story without passing judgement. It's basically a tale of the outsider--the native man who has no family, the lawyers who are up against the system, the priest (Friels) who disobeys his bishop to help, the newspaper owner standing in the face of the local police detective (Billing), and so on. The film does lack a certain level of subtlety; it paints all the characters far too starkly. Just a few shades of grey would have helped make, for instance, Dance's smug elitist snob even vaguely human! He comes across as a bull-headed, almost cartoonish villain, as do the deeply racist cops. While the excellent Carlyle and Fox are rather hapless heroes. Still, there's a clever twist in perspective at the end that makes the final epilogue somewhat unnerving. This is a great story nicely told.
dir Craig Lahiff|
scr Louis Nowra
with Robert Carlyle, Kerry Fox, Charles Dance, David Ngoombujarra, Ben Mendelsohn, Colin Friels, Roy Billing, Bille Brown, John Gregg, Heather Mitchell, Petru Gheorghiu, Max Stuart
release UK 9.Jan.04
If you say so. The cops, led by Det Turner (Billing), beat a confession out of Max (Ngoombujarra)...
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