Starring: Sam Neill, Zoe Carrides, John Clarke
Director: John Ruane
Distributor: Umbrella Aussie DVD
When this film was screened in the north Melbourne suburb that bears its name, audiences cheered the geography. But the performances also deserve an ovation. Sam Neill is adorable as the goofy Sting look-alike Carl Fitzgerald and Zoe Carrides is irresistible as the bouncy19 year old barmaid Sophie Papafogos. When Carl gets a job as a short order cook in the sleazy nightclub where Sophie works, sexy sparks start to fly. But the owner of the establishment also has his eyes on his star female employee and plans to ensnare her in a big fat Greek wedding.
Meanwhile in the grotty downstairs kitchen, Mustafa (Nick Lathouris) is discovered doing a sideline in illegal drugs and is beaten to a pulp by the club’s menacing bouncer Laurie (Boris Brkic). The inevitable titular death comes when Carl tries to defend himself amidst all the mayhem and is quickly followed by the black comedy which kicks in as he and his mate Dave (John Clarke) try to dispose of the body. Fortunately Dave is a professional gravedigger and in the film’s grossest scene, he invents a novel way to hide the corpse in the old moonlit graveyard.
Directed with a droll touch by first-timer John Ruane, Death In Brunswick is a crazy culture clash between a white middle class Aussie (or Kiwi, as the case may be) and the “brown” Greek/Turkish underworld. It’s based on the book by co-screenwriter Boyd Oxlade who drew on his own experience as a forty-something single man still living under the thumb of his disapproving mother. Yvonne Lawley is terrific praying for her son’s salvation while he surreptitiously borrows her make-up to try to hide his wrinkles. It’s a confronting thing, falling for someone half your age. But in the end love must conquer all, especially such insecurities.