Directed by Richard Gray
Starring Oliver Ackland, Jack Thompson, Zoe Carides, Angus Sampson
Review by Jordan
What’s the perfect number of flashbacks in a movie? one? two? surely three is pushing it? Not interested in determining this, Richard Gray’s Aussie Rules flick Blinder is instead hellbent on jamming as many flashbacks as it can into it’s excruciating run time as if that’s the most renowned of world records to beat, including so many it becomes a deceptively challenging (yet more rewarding than the film itself) game trying to count them all and keep up with whatever remnants of a narrative remain.
There have been very few movies made about Australia’s enormous national sport AFL (Australian Football League), and its beginning to appear that there is a good reason for that… the rules are hard enough to interpret for the umpires that adjudicate every week, so I can only imagine the confusion that would beset the hapless viewer whose introduction to the sport it this, especially considering how poorly shot, edited and staged the action sequences are, showcasing roughly 1% of what makes the game the greatest on earth (the 1% being the post-goal celebrations of Angus Sampson’s power forward Franky).
Suffice to say, Blinder does for AFL what The Blind Side and Field of Dreams do for AFL; absolutely nothing. In fact, considering it focuses solely on the country league, in particular the Torquay Tigers, and the drunken bogans with IQ’s smaller than the release this film was granted that make up the playing group paired with the unfortunate girl groupies they manage to entice, it shouldn’t even really be granted the connection. I suppose at it’s cold, cold heart its a drama anyway; a moralistic tale of forgiveness, redemption, friendships, new beginnings and not taking advantage of 15 year old girls… moving stuff… you’ll be holding back the tears, albeit tears of laughter.
Summer Coda (2010) was airy and emotionally unbelievable, yet enjoyable enough and always pleasant to look at, but compared to what Gray would do 3 years later it is a contextually deep, resonating Academy Award sweeping masterpiece comparable only to the finest works of art that belong at the Louvre alone. I won’t lie, I enjoyed playing the “flashbacks game,” (I’ll give you a hint as obvious as the plot twists, the transitioning to black and white means its going back in time.. or forward… actually I forget) but when what I wanted was some footy fun and was instead given a story of a tremendous dropkick unfathomably viewed as a local hero in which the footy scenes are horrendously tackled, seeing a world record broken was of little comfort.