Greg Sheridan reviews new Australian film Three Dollars:
The ludicrous plot of this movie has a government employed chemical engineer, David Wenham, and a contract university lecturer, Frances O’Connor, buy a house in Melbourne in their 20s. Then in their late 30s they both lose their jobs and, hey presto, within a minute they’re scrabbling in rubbish bins for food, borrowing clothes from street people and generally living a Dickensian fantasy of brutish persecution …
I kid you not, the plot and dialogue are beyond parody. The chemical engineer, instead of just getting another job like any normal person (why didn’t he retrain as a plumber and get rich?) spends an inordinate amount of time on Melbourne’s trains, where gangs of white guys beat up ethnic minorities, the homeless and Wenham himself …
People have a perfect right to make idiotic films. What is disturbing is that so many commentators accept the pantomime caricature plot of Three Dollars as representing reality. SBS’s The Movie Show called it “refreshingly honest”, the ABC’s The 7.30 Report said it “reveals the downside of our dollar-driven society”.
Wenham specialises in unrealistic “reality” movies directed by Robert Connolly. The Bank was an orgy of leftoid fantasy in which a pudding-headed, heart-of-gold battler had his business shut down by vicious capitalists (who, it’s implied, also murder his daughter). Wenham played a maths genius employed by The Bank to predict stock movements, only to turn against his employers and send The Bank bankrupt. Why? Because bankers killed his daddy, that’s why!
Kinda funny that Connolly’s latest film is about the tragedy of unemployment, considering how many people would have been out of work following the collapse of his fictional bank, and how this collapse was presented as just and fair.
UPDATE. Bernie Slattery:
In a previous life I worked for a year in the ABC’s staging department which was a refuge for several young actors and writers trying to get their first big break.
I was constantly astounded at how these supposedly brilliant young minds had such a corny, cliched view of society: the working class were brutes, the business class rapacious and traditional institutions corrupt.
They firmly believed society could only be saved by the artistic endeavours of a talented class dedicated to social justice and arts grants who were rewarded with multi-million dollar contracts and adoration by the masses.