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18 Dirty Deeds (2003)

updated 4th June 2003
reviewer's rating
Two Stars
Reviewed by Jason Best
User Rating 4 out of 5


Director
David Caesar
Writer
David Caesar
Stars
Bryan Brown
Toni Collette
John Goodman
Sam Neill
Sam Worthington
Length
97 minutes
Distributor
Momentum Pictures
Cinema
6th June 2003
Country
Australia
Genres
Crime
Thriller
Web Links
Bryan Brown interview

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Darkly comic crime thriller "Dirty Deeds" shows plucky Aussies standing up to condescending foreigners. The overweening outsiders aren't your usual suspects: the Poms. Instead, the ones who think the locals will be a pushover are blithely arrogant Yanks.

It's 1969 and Chicago Mafia bosses have designs on the territory of Sydney crime baron Barry Ryan (Bryan Brown), who runs the city's rackets, including the lucrative slot-machine business. So he dispatches two hoods - burnt-out veteran Tony (John Goodman) and trigger-happy youngster Sal (Felix Williamson) - to muscle in on the action.

And it's not as if Barry doesn't have enough on his plate, what with juggling the demands of his shrewd wife (Toni Collette) and ambitious mistress (Kestie Morassi), while taking his callow nephew, Darcy (Sam Worthington), under his wing and keeping corrupt local cop Ray (Sam Neill) sweet.

If the film's story describes the triumph of native wit over foreign imperialism, the same can't be said of the film itself.

Writer-director David Caesar films the action in the style of a 60s caper pic: lots of tilted camera angles and over-saturated colours.

Yet the playful tone sits uneasily with the moments of extreme violence that punctuate the narrative.

Indeed, in its combination of flashy camerawork, cheeky underworld comedy, and outlandish gore, "Dirty Deeds" owes far more to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and, above all, Guy Ritchie than Caesar would probably care to admit.









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