Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Perkins’

Review by Hoang Minh Phuc

November 3, 2010

Willie (Rocky McKenzie) and his schoolmates dance and sing as a rebellion against Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush).

Review Rating

Genre: Comedy

Running time: 85 min

Actors: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Geoffrey Rush

Director: Rachel Perkins

Screen writer: Reg Cribb, Rachel Perkins and Jimmy Chi from the play by Jimmy Chi

Appeal: Australian

OFLC rating: PG

Year: 2010

DVD Release: March 17, 2010

An intimate portrait reveals the nature of Australian humour with a mix of joy and happiness.

Many will remember the adventure of an Australia bushman Dundee in New York City in ‘Crocodile Dundee’ (1986) and the journey in a school bus to Alice Springs of three drag queens in ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994). Through capturing heroics with their self-deprecating humour, resilience of the face of the adversity, and desire to conquer the landscape, Australian adventure comedy always brings a complex mix of witty gags, joy, surprise, and happy ending.

As an adaptation of Jimmy Chi’s 1990 stage musical, Rachel Persin’s ‘Bran Nue Dae’ is the best slide of Australian heroic comedy out of its time.

In Australian comedy movies of all stripes, the most usual comic characters are young men – but Bran Nue Dae centres on Willie (Rocky McKenzie), an Aboriginal teenage boy, who escapes from the Catholic boarding school in Perth to find his way home in Broome in north-western Australia.

Set in the late 1960s, the movie opens with Willie enjoying with the life of the idyllic old pearling port Broome – fishing, hanging out with his mates. The opening scene grabs the audience’s attention through Willie’s timidity, naivety and imaginariness of Rosie the girl he loves.

However, his mother returns him to the religious mission for further schooling. After being punished for an act of youthful rebellion, he runs away from the mission on a journey that ultimately leads him back home.

Along the way to head back home, Willie meets some new friends, most notably Uncle Tadpole (Ernie Dingo), who is a drunken buffoon but at the same time becomes a helper and guide. The old man makes laugh through his cunning trick to hitch a lift on a pink van.

Adapting the approach of road movie, Perkins brings her characters out of the prison cell to the natural world through capturing the heroics’ adventure to conquer the vast landscape.

The movie amazes the audiences through many comic icons. The pink van evokes the witty image of a colourful school bus in ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’. A hilarious image of a ‘condom tree’ is another amusing effect that generates the laughter.

‘Bran Nue Dae’ reveals the uniqueness of Australian humour through portraying different body types, energies and forms of self-expression. Missy Higgins attempts to parody herself as an idiot hippie, Annie, and Deborah Mailman powers through scenes of a mincing older woman, Roxanne, tries to relieve Willie of his naivety.

One of the great facets that create the pleasure of the movie is its fabulous music – a pastiche of rock’n’roll, Broadway, country and folk – is by Chi’s band, Knuckles.