Three Dollars

Year: 2005
Director: Robert Connolly
Writer: Robert Connolly/Elliot Perlman
Cast: David Wenham, Frances O'Connor, Sarah Wynter, Robert Menzies
Now that Australian filmmakers have perfected the art of making rubbish movies that fail dismally, Three Dollars can lead the charge of excellent movies - as long as it gets the marketing support it deserves.

Ostensibly a comment on modern urban living in Australia, it's as rich an experience as life itself, so full of subtexts, themes and messages it's unlikely a first viewing will reveal them all.

Eddie (Wenham) is the picture of the modern Australian male; pressure at work, a mortgage, a difficult but rewarding marriage; he's a simple bloke who wants to pay his way, look after those he loves and help where he can.

When bad luck sweeps his and his family's lives in a wave, we feel every battering, every new pinch of sorrow in wonder at what Eddie's done to deserve it all.

As his life crumbles round him, he never lets go of his compassion in a series of vignettes where he helps or wants to help people in worse shape than he is (all the while unable to tell himself why), until his final act of mercy breaks down his last barriers about people and society.

Wenham and Frances O'Connor give their roles everything to achieve a sense of naturalism, and with Connolly's high quality direction, the result is an extremely well shot film whose story - while hard to follow here and there - can only get more poignant over time.

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