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The Boys

This is what Australian movies should be like - not the desperately Americanised crowd-friendly tosh that's been around so far in recent times. Australian cinema has a firm grasp on the kind of honest, raw story The Boys typifies.

Strong visual themes of escape highlight the desperation of the female characters in the story. We witness the boys seeing Nola just as she gets a lift on the road. If she hadn't it would certainly have meant her destruction at their hands. And in the final scene, we see a taxi scoot past the woman who will become their victim, who passes up the chance to instead wait for the bus, a move that will doom her to her horrible fate.

We met all three brothers, Brett (Wenham), Stevie (Hayes) and Glenn (Polson) the day Brett is released from prison for assault. He sets straight to causing chaos in the lives of those around him, from his brothers and the women who orbit them to their long-suffering mother.

Throughout the day we're given stolen glimpses of the future, from 18 hours to many months down the track, showing parts of some horrible fate. The 'flash-forwards' give a brooding sense of menace that the three principal actors only add to by encompassing the sort of violent, lower class born loser we can all identify in Australia. In a way, it shows a side to Australia the inner city rich wishes didn't exist.

Things go from bad to worse for all involved before leading to the inevitable conclusion, one we don't see but which is all the more menacing because of the looks into the future we get throughout the movie and Brett's chillingly casual 'let's get her'.

I'd seen almost all David Wenham's other films apart from this one before watching it on DVD and had always been unimpressed with his acting (until his role in Gettin' Square. But his breakout role here is brilliant, effortlessly blending the suburban no hoper and the brooding psychopath waiting to explode.

John Polson also does a great job, and I didn't even realise it was him until the end - after his turn in Mission: Impossible 2 I'd written his acting career off. Toni Collette is good but not as comfortable as the rest of the cast at times.

The doco-stylised camerawork is mostly effective but occasionally detracts from the proceedings, and the snippets of grainy video footage add to the mood but little else - maybe they gives clues of the crime on repeat viewings.

Brilliantly written (adapted from a play), brilliantly acted and almost flawlessly directed, it's a brutal Australasian cinematic triumph of the Once Were Warriors kind.

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