Thursday, December 16, 2010

Random DVD Round-up 7 - SUBURBAN MAYHEM

Like an Australian mash-up of TO DIE FOR and NATURAL BORN KILLERS, Aussie director Paul Goldman's (THE NIGHT WE CALLED IT A DAY) SUBURBAN MAYHEM is a lot of fun up until the point where, well, it isn't. The star of the show is Emma Barclay's Kat - a slutty media-whore intent on raising the cash to get her murderous brother a retrial, and willing to manipulate meat-heads into off'ing anyone who gets in her way. The first half of the flick is carried along on a wave of black humour, loud music, saturated colour, ludicrous characterisation and hilarious talking heads. However, as the movie hits the second half it falters without a remotely sympathetic character to anchor our interest. It's like a lurid rock song that lasts way too long. Indeed, Kat is such a monster of narcissism, and the director takes such evident pleasure in filming this teenage single-mum whoring it up, that one might almost be tempted to call this a rather misogynistic flick except for the fact that screenwriter Alice Bell is evidently taking equal pleasure in showing how simple-minded the guys are who fall for Kat's manipulation. Still probably worth a watch just for the bravura performance from Emily Barclay and for an early glimpse of the now Hollywood-famous Mia Wasikowska as Lilya.

SUBURBAN MAYHEM won 3 AFI awards and was nominated for a further 9. It played Cannes and Toronto 2006 and was released in Australia in 2006 and in the UK, New Zealand and France in 2007. It is available on DVD.

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