Friday, October 17, 2008

London Film Festival Day 3 - THREE BLIND MICE

THREE BLIND MICE is an intriguing wholly independent feature from writer-director-actor Matthew Newton. It follows three young Australian Navy officers on a night in Sydney before they ship out, presumably to Iraq. The movie starts off as a film much like Jon Favreau's brilliant SWINGERS with a very naturalistic shooting style and three guys speaking frankly and authentically about getting laid on their final night at home. Matthew Newton plays the smart-talking, funny guy, Harry, who orders two hookers in his friend Sam's name. Ewen Leslie's Sam is a bullied, quiet type who just wants to make his grandfather proud. Finally, there's the apparently sensible Dean (Toby Schmitz) - the calming influence, who has to meet up with his fiancee and her parents for dinner.

The movie keeps it's freewheeling style for the first half of the story and is genuinely very funny, if frustatingly meandering. Things aren't helped when Sam picks up a waitress called Emma (Gracie Otto) who must surely be one of the most irritating characters in Aussie film. However, just as I was starting to lose patience with the movie, it took a left turn into gravity and pleasantly wrong-footed me. In the final scenes, Newton still combines the previous crazy comedy with a more serious discussion of when and whether soldiers should disobey orders and take moral responsibility for their actions. I'm not sure if the combination works, but it made for interesting viewing and I'll definitely be searching out the next Matthew Newton flick.

THREE BLIND MICE played London, Toronto and Sydney 2008.

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