December 02, 2006

Horse 676 - The Castle

In summing up, it's the Constitution, it's Mabo, it's justice, it's law, it's the vibe and...
No, that's it.
It's the vibe!

I don't know if the writers of The Castle intended to produce an iconically Australian film, but even if they didn't then this is pretty well much it.

The story follows the exploits of Daryl Kerrigan, a tow truck driver living in Melbourne, and his family. Unfortunately, the local airport wants to expand and plans to evict Daryl's family and their neighbours by way of compulsory acquisition. Daryl attempts to foil the expansion in order to keep his home. He later ends up challenging the legality of the acquisition under Section 51(xxxi - he even learnt Roman Numerals) of the Australian Constitution at the High Court of Australia.

The Castle is a courageous story about one man's obsession with his "castle" and his loathing of officialdom. The humour in The Castle plays on the self image of Australians, most notably the concept of "the little Aussie battler". The movie title is named for the English saying, repeatedly used in the film, "A man's home is his castle." The film also refers to the land rights movement of the Australian Aborigines, with Kerrigan drawing an explicit parallel between his struggle and theirs.

The film was shot in a total of ten days, with a rough-cut ready five days after that. In all, the entire project from conception to completion took just five weeks, and was made with a remarkably low budget. Distributor, Village Roadshow then came in with funding to distribute the film. At the box office The Castle became one of Australia’s most successful films in grossing more than $10 million which then led to large American independent, Miramax Films, buying the US distribution rights for US$6 million.

The film unfortunately suffers from a lack of intelligent dialogue, namely the use of the F word. As far as I know it is the only film in American history to be given an R rating on no other grounds - in Australia the film only carried an M rating, which says something about American predjudice more than anything else. There are no adult themes, no violence (apart from when Kerrigan steals a gate).

It goes on to consistently list itself as one of the classic Australian films of all time; the biggest reason is that the rest of the world has no way to "get"it. Then them they're dreaming...

so much serenity

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