Back home again. Emotions run high at the family barbecue
dir-scr David Caesar
with Ben Mendelsohn, Susie Porter, Andrew S Gilbert, Belinda McClory, Peta Brady, Wayne Blair, Tony Barry, Kris McQuade, Paul Kelman, Steve LeMarquand, Aaron Blabey, Nash Edgerton
release UK 15.Mar.02
01/Australia 1h28

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
life is like a bucket of fish This tale about trying to go home again combines slick production values with that warm Aussie quirkiness. For the record, a mullet is a kind of fish that has no real use. And it's also a very bad haircut. So you can understand why Eddie (Mendelsohn) has this nickname. Three years after leaving with no explanation, he just appears back home in the small fishing town of Coollawarra. His abandoned girlfriend (Porter) is now married to his brother (Gilbert), the barmaid (McClory) still has a torch for him, his sister (Brady) is seeing a rugby player (Blair), and his happily married parents (Barry and McQuade) still aren't speaking to each other.

It's in the characters that this film works wonders. They are all perfectly realised on screen both by the gifted cast and the sharp screenplay and direction, which lifts little layers of meaning subtly from various situations that are funny, touching and pointed--often all at the same time. Writer-director Caesar never lays anything on thickly, and as a result his message gets through very nicely, making us think about family issues in all their complexity and giving us a bracing glimpse of small town life quite unlike what we usually see on screen. And while Eddie's aimless drifting may seem rather irritating, it is so honest and fresh that he can't help but get under our skin. This is a perfectly formed little film that never resorts to cliches in any way--a gem that's well worth looking for.
themes, language cert 15 8.Mar.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
life is like a bucket of fish send your review to Shadows... "Very realistic story of small-town life where one man returns home possibly to spawn - maybe he's a salmon. Great performances and filmmaking in all departments. Would have liked a little more of a climax at the BBQ and look into the racial issue but otherwise perfect. ***1/2 Well worth seeing." --Gawain McLachlan, Filmnet, Melbourne
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall