Is This the Real World – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

May 26, 2016 by Roz Tarszisz
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Reviewing movies takes me to places I might otherwise not go.  In the past I might have considered myself a tad old to enjoy a story about a teenage boy but was engrossed by this debut film from writer/director Martin McKenna.

It’s made with a sure hand and while there are a few wee holes in the plot, it’s essentially well done with fine performances from all the cast, a great soundtrack and a few surprises.

Mark Blazey (Sean Keenan, Puberty Blues) is the new boy at high school. He has been expelled from the private school where he had an academic scholarship and lives with his single mum  Anna (Susie Porter), older brother  Jimmy  (Matt Colwell) and younger sister  Marley (Elise MacDougall) in Gamma’s (Julia Blake) house in coastal Victoria.

Predictably, a group of boys give Mark a hard time but he eventually wins them over with guile rather than brute strength.  He is a bit of a loner, but catches the attention of classmate Kim (Charlotte Best).  Not surprising as he is rather good looking but he is also kind.

Principal Rickard (Greg Stone) will do whatever he can to ensure there are no fractious elements in his school and it is his treatment of the teenager which drives the story.  I found the adult’s actions unreasonable but am assured by an ex-teacher, that even today, such behaviour is quite possible.  Mark also seems intent on a bit of self -harm, spending hours riding his bicycle in a manner likely to cause him injury.

Susie Porter is excellent as the harried mother who needs a large glass of wine at the end of her working day.  Life is hard but she loves her kids and does her best to keep them all together.  Jimmy has been running wild and in trouble with the law but looks out for his younger brother. The scene where he takes Mark and the boys who have been tormenting him on a wild car ride is a salutary lesson about taking control.

It might be about teenagers but it is more about the importance of family and I found myself caring about the outcome. Getting out of one’s comfort zone has to be a good thing.

4/5   2016 Released June 2 Rated MA15+  90mins

Starring Sean Keenan, Charlotte Best, Matt Colwell, Suzie Porter, Julia Blake, Greg Stone

Writer/Director: Martin McKenna

Score by Murray Jamieson, Thomas Baker, Ben Michael

 

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