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OYSTER FARMER

Release Date:
Thursday, June 30, 2005


Greater Union Cinemas | Palace Nova, EastEnd, Adelaide

Risk Is An Aphrodisiac
Synopsis: 23-year-old Jack Flange (Alex O'Lachlan), moves from Sydney to a small oyster-farming community to work for Brownie (David Field) and his old man Mumbles (Jim Norton), one of the founding families of the river who are now almost bankrupt.

Jack has moved to the river to be closer to his sister Nikki who is recovering from a car accident in a private hospital nearby. In a desperate bid to find money for her hospital bills, Jack robs the Sydney Fish Markets and posts the proceeds to himself upriver where he waits for the package to arrive.

Set in the beautiful environs of the Hawkesbury River and also starring Jack Thompson, ‘Oyster Farmer’ is the anticipated first feature from award-winning short filmmaker Anna Reeves.
   
Verdict: ‘Oyster Farmer’ marks the directorial feature film debut for Anna Reeves, who also penned the screenplay about the idiosyncratic oyster farmers of the Hawkesbury River region. Reeves should be extremely proud and satisfied with ‘Oyster Farmer’ as this is a genuine Australian movie that is a fabulous character study set in an authentically Australian setting. This is no pseudo attempt to create real Australians characters, as all the players are genuine, legitimate and totally believable. Bravo Anna!

Excellent newcomer, Alex O’Lachlan is 23-year-old Jack Flange who arrives in the Hawkesbury region to find work to help pay for his sister’s private hospital bills, as well as to be near her. He takes on a job for oyster farmer Brownie (a brilliant, flawless David Field) and his father Mumbles (a cheeky yet wise Jim Norton) who are struggling to keep their business afloat. Brownie is also up against the other local oyster farmers including his estranged wife Trish (steady and strong Kerry Armstrong) who is working for another farmer, but is somehow always in sight around the district.

Alex is frustrated at not being able to help his sister out more financially, and decides to rob the fish markets and posts the takings to himself - not such a bad idea! As fate would have it, the local postman has a heart attack on the day Alex’s parcel arrives and his anticipated future is jeopardised when the envelope containing his money is lost. Alex suspects everyone will discover his secret but tries in vain to conceal his anxiety, all the while desperately searching for the lost money. He befriends a local, Skippy (Jack Thompson at his finest - don’t even bother trying to find fault with him here), finds a love interest, Pearl (an enlightening Dianna Glenn) and gets involved with the on-going dispute between Brownie and Trish. Ultimately, Alex will make a decision about his life and whether he leaves or stays with the oyster farmers.

‘Oyster Farmer’ is just so wonderfully relaxing and visually appealing, even with the shots of the very sub-standard accommodation that many of the oyster farmers endure. Some of the images are just so peaceful and moving that it’s a shame some of them have to end to make way for the next scene – early morning on the river is a classic example of this.

The characters of ‘Oyster Farmer’ are no ordinary group of people and Reeves has captured the true essence of their being, their shortcomings and their personal triumphs and their tenacious persistence in a very unpredictable lifestyle. Also so fascinating here is the relationships of the various characters between themselves and the land and water. There is the typical Australian black humour present and the regulation characters, yet none of it seems in the least bit contrived or false. This is the real deal.

‘Oyster Farmer’ is a revelation. It is warm, humorous, engaging and most of all, totally believable and very rewarding. Bring on the oysters…
   

Cast: Alex O'Lachlan, David Field, Kerry Armstrong, Dianna Glenn, Jack Thompson, Alan Cinis, Claudia Harrison, Jim Norton
Director: Anna Reeves
Writer: Anna Reeves
Genre: Drama
Rated: MA 15+ strong sex scene, coarse language,
Runtime: 91 minutes
Other:
   
Reviewed by:
85/100
Christina Bruce


 


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