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The Past | The Previous

Mar. 26th, 2002

Risk, alan white's second film, and set in the middle of big business in sydney.

(though as i watch it, the delightfully attractive claudia karvan is taking the innocent country boy hero out to the beach. ah. such as shame what the tv show has done to her.)

Risk is about money. flowing into the hands of briefcase carrying insurance claimers and lawyers. which is secretly how the CBD of sydney works, at least in general mythology. fat men, greying hair, round stomachs sagging with the injection of corruption that is part of their daily diet.

Risk is also about corruption.

the corruption in sydney flows both ways: company ripping off company, employee ripping off company, average citizen ripping off company, employee ripping off citizen, and company ripping off employee. there are probably more variations of this, but on a basic level, that's that.

ooh, drugs have entered the movie now. snorting lines off a silver tray. now, this is big business in sydney.

on a landscape of sydney, the 'burbs are low run brick houses running along lawns and small wooden fences. sydney itself is this dark monolith of buildings, white urinals, pubs made from black steel and wood, cars of various kinds (though none of them resembling cars i drive), and, of course, the sparse pale blue of offices.

there is also the harbour bridge, lit up at night, the metaphor for bridges over water as the hero has a turn for the emotional worse while in a narrow alley, tattooed with graffiti.

steel cage doors line houses and apartment blocks.

big business corporate scams. the new crime ways.

you know, bryan brown is somewhat of a joy in a movie these days. the craggy faced, narrow axe shaft of a man, the classic australian man, with a cigarette in one hand and a crooked tie in the other.

have you ever noticed how the inside of offices (and not just in this movie, but i am also thinking of the few i have been in) are very well lit? as if the lighting plan is pushing away all the dark corners and the secrets that hide in them.

i once found myself in an office block that was just being constructed in parramatta. there were no tables, no walls to make cubicles, nothing like that in it yet. just a wide empty space of a floor, full of light, and with a huntsman sitting in the middle of the room. it was a huge thing, the size of my hand, dark grey and hairy, just sitting there in the middle of the floor.

it doesn't mean anything, has no metaphoric or added value. i just remember it. the strangest thing about the floor, was that the toilets had been completely outfitted. paper, soap, the whole deal.

Risk is finished.

you know what happens? the protagonist screws over the company, which is such a very middle class thing to do. being middle class (well, lower to middle), i support it.

Comments

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(Anonymous)
Mar. 27th, 2002 06:23 pm (UTC)
But Is It Art?
But what did you think of the movie, particularly from your standpoint, that of creating your own stories about Sydney?

I found it all to be a little too well rounded really. The main character just does a little too well for himself in my opinion. I mean, he is one of the bad guys after all. Worse than the Brown character. Yet I'm supposed to cheer along as he screws over the company? Well, of course I WANTED to cheer, I loathe insurance companies just as much as anyone, their policies are nigh on useless, the information they use to justify themselves is falsified (knowing statistics alumni gets one such info), they prey on our fears like political leaders etc etc And that's just it. The movie makers knew what I wanted to see and they gave it to me. A good script, well executed knows what I want to see and then twists it slightly so I'm disappointed, shocked or perhaps it reflects my desire back to me or it explores why I want the ending I want so I leave the cinema entertained but also knowing more about myself as a result. Fuck. I'm pretty goddam this morning optimistic aren't I?

And the depiction of Corruption. Of sydney as Corrupt. I don't know, it's a bit showy to me, a bit too Bollywood. I mean, I've never seen anyone snort anything from a silver tray. Compact mirrors, credit cards, the underside of those butter cookie collections that overrun supermarkets every christmas, but a silver tray? How deliberate, how passe'.

Jase
benpeek
Mar. 27th, 2002 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: But Is It Art?
i didn't mind it.

i prefer white's previous film, ERSKENVILLE KINGS. i must watch that again, actually.

but there were some serious character flaws in the main character. he was just too passive, too much of a country boy in the city overtaken by corruption for me, you know? and he never really had his goal. helping people in an insurance company? what's that? did he want money, did he want to screw people, did he want to help? was he just lonely, cut off from his family?

and what was the full nature of bryan brown and claudia carvan's relationship? okay, they lived together. so it must be pretty serious right? so then they have *one* fight and brown changes his life insurance. i mean, come on.

you could almost accuse it of pushing forth cliches. like the snorting off the silver tray--very eighties. actually, the film did kind of seem 80ish to me. all those suits, drugs, cops, lots of time spent in a bar drinking beer and smoking. *shrug* but yes, i do agree that the cliches of sydney are there.

i thought, actually, the film would have a more defined look of sydney, in the same way his previous film showed erskanville so very well. christ. i've forgotten how to spell the suburb properly. always happens.

but it wasn't a bad film. in look and how it was put together, but the characters, their dynamics, all of that, they were flawed. and, while i hate to say this, it was true: it was such a white film.

maybe you could make a point out of that, that in the middle of the CBD big business insurance companies, ect, that this is the big white people land.

in the end, film wise, it presents us an almost cliche of big business, and brown, as the classic australian male, is the one the audience likes cause he's the one screwing them. while, as you said, the film played up well: watch big business get screwed. enjoy it.

if only there had been a bit more meat to it.
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