Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


A young boy, Frankie (Rowan Witt), is trapped when a supermarket collapses. Lying under the rubble, he discovers he is not alone. An old Irishman, Seamus (Barry Jenkins), and the unpredictably nasty Bert (Austen Tayshus), have also been pinned. None of them can really move much, but they can hear each other. Through their conversations, they soon get to know each other. As time passes, the boy frets and Seamus tries to keep him calm by spinning wonderful tales, encouraging the boy to close his eyes and imagine himself in the stories. All this is no comfort to the callous Bert, who takes pleasure in reminding the boy he is probably going to die. As the wise Seamus continues to tell a series of fable-like stories, both he and the boy seem to maintain their spirits, while Bertís negativity starts to eat away at him. And yet, thereís no certainty any of them will survive.

"Many first-time feature film makers are understandably reluctant to take risks. It is pleasantly surprising, then, to see this initial effort from director/writer Paul Fenech, which was made for just $100,000. It is a challenging and fantastical tale, with rich imagery and many fable-like stories. As the boy, Rowan Witt is wonderful. He has a disarming kind of look about him, and an innocence as well. Given that for much of the film he appears on his own, he does very well to maintain a consistency to his character. Invariably, it is Wittís rapport with Barry Jenkins which dominates the movie. They are never on screen together, yet they seem very connected. Jenkins does a fine job, not just in his acting but in his narrating of the stories. Austen Tayshus knows how to come across as nasty, but little else is asked of him. The rest of the cast, who feature in Seamusís mythical tales, are diverse and notable. They range from recognised performers, such as Ernie Dingo and Leah Purcell, to ironman Guy Leech, art critic Stephen Fenley and recently rediscovered indigenous singer, Jimmy Little. The imagery in this film is very strong. The close-ups add a confinement to the underground scenes, but they are relieved by some wonderful, wide landscapes. The sometimes haunting score compliments the imaginative cinematography. Somewhere in the Darkness is a rambling tale which occasionally verges on being too preachy. But it is generally entertaining, challenging and overall, an impressive debut."
Anthony Mason

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0


CAST: Rowan Witt, Barry Jenkins, Austen Tayshus, Leah Purcell, Ernie Dingo, Robyn Loau, Jimmy Little, Guy Leech, Stephen Fenley, Jabba, Su Cruikshank, Tim Webster, Ian Turpie, Monica Trapaga

DIRECTOR: Paul Fenech

PRODUCER: David Webster, Brendan Fletcher, Paul Fenech

SCRIPT: Paul Fenech and Brendan Fletcher


EDITOR: Areito Miles

MUSIC: Matthew Urmenyhazi

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes


VIDEO RELEASE: October 1999

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020