Suburban Mayhem (2006)

Director: Paul Goldman

Cast: Emily Barclay, Michael Dorman, Robert Morgan, Anthony Hayes, Steve Bastoni

Synopsis: Katrina Skinner is a teenage mother of one whose only real loyalty is to her older brother Danny.   When he is sent to jail for murder, she will do whatever it takes to help him out, even if it means murdering her father.

A review by Film Nerd

Most people hear the term “Australian film” and sadly shudder.   The quality of the industry has slowly been increasing with time though.   Suburban Mayhem is another step forward in this steady incline… a drama that does not rely solely on drug abuse or gang crime, as have many recent movies on the Australian market.

Katrina is an interesting character, and played with absolute authenticity by Emily Barclay.   This is a break out performance, playing one of the more menacing 19 year old girls to grace the silver screen in recent memory.   She is self-centred, manipulative, and as she has always had her own way, she knows of no other way to live.   She knows she is attractive and isn’t beyond using that fact to get exactly what she wants.   This in itself is troubling, but is nothing compared to what her character evolves into by the end of the film, as a series of events catalyse her descent into a much more sinister and callous personality.

In comparison to this, the other characters are caught tumbling in her wake, and despite their character flaws, they elicit the audience’s sympathies, in particular Katrina’s well-meaning father (Morgan), who observes her on the downward spiral and in trying to act, only gets Katrina’s wrath in return.   Katrina’s fiancée (Dorman), though besotted with Kristina, is sadly a nice guy who is nothing more than a pawn in Katrina’s schemes.

This is a heavy drama, and the viewer should enter the film aware of this fact.   That being the case, however, this is a film that represents the high quality of its stars and the Australian film industry in general.   That said, it was a film made amidst a deluge of dark Australian films.   Audiences need variety, so for Australians to see more Aussie cinema, we need cinema that reaches a wider audience.

3 stars (out of a possible 5)

Suburban Mayhem on IMDB

Suburban Mayhem on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zab3TRjlxs]

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