Rating: **** Threat: Nuclear war and fallout
Astra Film Production. Written by John Duigan; Photographed by Tom Cowan; Edited by John Scott; Music by William Motzing; Produced by Richard Mason; Directed by John Duigan. 97 minutes.
Cassandra Delaney (Sharon Smith, usherette at the Sydney Opera House); Saskia Post (Eva, Czech émigré and Sharon's friend); Tyler Coppin (Sam, AWOL American sailor); Jay Hackett (Brendan Pizzy, janitor at Sydney Opera House); David Pledger (Tony, Brendan's friend); Ian Gilmour (Sharon's boyfriend in flashbacks); Jennifer Miller (Sharon's teacher in flashbacks); Monica McDonald (Sam's old girlfriend in flashbacks); Peggy Thompson (Sam's mother in flashbacks); Michael Con way (security guard at Sydney Opera House); Lois Ramsey (Salvation Army worker); Alec Morgan (Scottish piper); Tsukasa Furuya (large nutcracker robot); John Krummel (TV news commentator); Richard Morecroft, Helen Pankhurst (TV reporters); Frankie Raymond (Frankie); Todd Boyce, Michael Cloyd, Justin Monjo (American sailors).
This Australian production is a bizarre compound that seems like a cross between Waiting for Godot and the “Porky's” series. At times it seems like a rambling and silly frolic, but then it switches tone and becomes vivid, intense and emotionally wrenching. The unexpectedness of some segments could even compare to the initial impact that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) had on viewers. When the film sustains this mood it is magnificent, but it occasionally squanders its advantage with an awkward gesture. This quirky film has yet to be discovered by many movie aficionados, who may someday grant it cult status.
The picture opens with an anti-American protest march greeting the arrival of a U.S. warship in Sydney harbor. Most people ignore the protestors, however, since it is the Christmas season. The camera follows two pretty girls, Sharon and Eva, who are observed by two young men dressed as Santa Claus. They strike up a conversation and persuade the girls to go out with them that evening. Tony and Brendan decide to take their dates to a rock program in the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House. The story spends considerable time with typical teenage banter as the girls size up their dates. The two couples return to the girls' apartment, where a television report describes a serious world crisis due to an incident in Central America. Sharon and Eva finally decide to dump the guys, and they give them a quick brush off.
Christmas passes, and Sharon is at work as an usherette at the Sydney Opera House on New Year's Eve. After the show ends, Eva arrives and the girls plan