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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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DINNER PARTY, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The unstable Angela King (Lara Cox) plots an evening to remember - for all the wrong reasons. Her relationship with Joel (Ben Seton) is clouded by her own behaviour and her deadly plans for after the dinner are propelled by the presence of Joel's ex, Sky (Mariane Powers) who is the only friend he can turn to for support. Angela's friend Maddy (Jessica Turner) tries to be supportive but is aghast and helpless in the face of Angela's determination to carry out her plans.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Told in laboured flashback sequences as police question witnesses, this low budget Aussie thriller is good at maintaining tension, but doesn't quite hit the jackpot. Some of the flaws are more obvious than others - like jump cuts to a busy nightclub which play like mere filler scenes. The back-and-forth flashback device is partially effective but is often redundant in dramatic terms and sometimes accentuates problematic editing throughout. With the police station is identified as being in Sydney, exterior shots of Canberra tend to be confusing.

Some crucial and intense emotional scenes where we should be seeing close ups are underlit and/or in mid-shot, reducing the impact and the drama. Composer Oonah Sherrard channels Lisa Gerrard for some ethereal cues (voiced by Sumathi Krishnan) interspersed with baying cellos or heavy piano chords, and sometimes the sound mix is (frustratingly) weighted towards the underscore.

But there are the good things, like the good use of source music and the film's best, most effective scene near the end with paramedics in attendance. And then there are the fine performances from the entire ensemble.

Lara Cox does a great job understating the disturbed Angela, letting her action tell all, and Mariane Power shines as the ex girlfriend Sky invited to the dinner party by Angela's current boyfriend, Joel, played with quiet efficiency by Ben Seton. Kai Harris is impressive as Freddie the rogue-ish dinner guest who isn't beyond snatching funny pills from his host's bathroom drawer, and Jessica Turner makes Angela's friend Maddy a credible, multi-dimensional character.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

DINNER PARTY, THE (M)
(Aust, 2009)

CAST: Lara Cox, Ben Seton, Sam Lyndon, Mariane Power, Jessica Turner, Kai Harris, Jerome Pride, Brendan Sloane

PRODUCER: Brendan Sloane, Brad Diebert

DIRECTOR: Scott Murden

SCRIPT: Scott Murden

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brett Murphy

EDITOR: Greg Evans, Scott Murden, Doug Kirk

MUSIC: Oonah Sherrard (voice Sumathi Krishnan)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Peta Black

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: - Accent Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: This theatrical release has been withdrawn and the film will be released on DVD February 18, 2011 xml_ausrelease>







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