Tag Archives: Australia

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) by Ramblings of a Cinefile – Ultimate 80s Blogathon

Here’s my entry to the Ultimate 80s Blogathon hosted by Drew @Drew’s Movie Reviews and Kim @Tranquil Dreams .
Go and check all the other contributions.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Welcome to week 2 of the Ultimate 80s Blogathon! If you missed any of the posts from last week, check out the list of entries here.  Next up is Marta from Ramblings of a Cinefile with her review of George Miller’s classic Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.  If for some reason you don’t follow Marta already, go give her site a look.  She reviews all kinds of films and television shows and posts quotes that puts my Movie Quote of the Week to shame.  But enough about my babbling, here is Marta’s review.


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

One of the first post­apocalyptic films of the 1980s, Mad Max 2 (or The Road Warrior) has, very quickly, risen to the status of cult classic with his taciturn anti­hero (a strong reminder of the Man with No Name from Leone’s Dollars Trilogy) and its bleak, vast landscapes of the Australian outback, perfect setting…

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The Proposition

Director: John Hillcoat, Main Cast: Ray WinstoneGuy Pearce, Emily WatsonDanny HustonJohn HurtDavid WenhamRichard Wilson;

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In this Australian, post-western film, written (and scored) by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat, evil seems to take many forms and shapes but it is made flesh and unanimously recognised in Arthur Burns (Huston). Outlaw and murderer, he terrorises  the Australian outback along with his gang, which includes his younger brothers Charlie (Pearce) and Mikey (Wilson). After a particular heinous crime (the murder of the whole Hopkins family, after raping pregnant Mrs. Hopkins), the brothers split and, while Arthur holes up in a hideout in the hills, Charlie and Mikey are captures by Captain Stanley (Winstone) and his men as the result of a bloody shoot out. At this point take place the titular proposition: Capt. Stanley offers to set Charlie free and have the opportunity to save young Mikey from execution if he finds and kills Arthur in the next nine days, otherwise Mike will be hanged on Christmas day. The viewer then follows the unfolding of two parallel stories: Charlie’s unholy quest and Capt. Stanley struggles to keep a balance between his terrible job (“I will civilise this land!”) and his quiet life with his wife Martha (Watson), whom he tries to shelter and protect from the horrible reality they live in. Hillcoat uses very deftly extreme contrasts to drive home the harshness of British settlement days in the late nineteen century Australia, such as serving tea with proper manners and beautiful porcelain set and flogging, Martha’s impeccable attire and hairdo and the dirt, the dust and roughness of the little town, the violence and ruthlessness of the policemen and the peace and charm of Stanley’s house and garden. In a calculated choice, the audience doesn’t even see Arthur’s face before almost forty minutes into the movie, we just glimpse his back in a stunning, scenery shot. His name and deeds keep being mentioned by various characters, sometimes in whispers like he could suddenly manifest and wreck havoc, some are just hearsay or legend among the aborigines of a white man gone mad. When the viewer finally meets the man, it is almost anticlimactic, he is still, seemingly at peace, clearly intelligent, well-read and more than capable of meaningful human connections, in particular with his brother Charlie. So, one might ask: where is the blood-thirsty psychopath? The beast in human form? Well, we get to see him very soon when Arthur slowly runs a knife through Jelion Lamb’s (Hurt) heart after telling him: “this is going to hurt”. Afterwards there is a chain of events that leads to a harrowing and bloody conclusion, obviously, but no clear victory, no black and white answer, just the lingering doubt that everyone has participated in wrong-doings even if it is just by inaction: “Australia, what fresh hell is this?”.  Although a disturbing tale, this film is beautifully shot and the cast gives persuasive portrayal of their characters: Huston, Pearce and Winstone, in particular, are top-notch. Daunting and haunting. —8/10

Buy it from Amazon:

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This post is part of the The Great Villain Blogathon hosted by a terrific trio of ladies: Ruth of  Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin and Kristina of Speakeasy. Check out all the other posts on their blogs.

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Oldies but goldies: Gallipoli (1981)

Director: Peter Weir, Main Cast: Mel GibsonMark LeeBill Kerr;

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A story of friendship and the futility of war. Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson), two young Western Australians, are both gifted sprinters who meet at a competition and become friends trying to reach Perth in 1915. Archy is an idealist who wants to fight in the war while Frank is more pragmatic and sees no point in joining the army and going to Europe. However he changes his mind and decides to enlist while helping Archy, who is underage, to lie his way into the light cavalry. Frank doesn’t make the cut and ends up in the infantry. The two friends are separated but meet again in Turkey after Frank leaves the infantry’s “boot camp” in Egypt. They become acquainted with the harsh reality of war while witnessing the senseless massacre of their fellow soldiers. Frank is assigned to be a runner, unbeknown to him after Archy’s recommendation to their CO,  in order to keep communicating with the central command once the main attack begins. As in all wars there is sacrifice and loss, well portrayed by this film’s ending. The cinematography is entrancing, the story moves with a nice pace and it is enthralling. The actors are well cast and very convincing, Mark Lee most of all I must say, and you get the best pep talk in movie’s history! Riveting —8/10

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