Urban Cinefile
"One of my favourite lines in Rock Star is There's nothing worse than a rich groupie with connections."  -Jackie Collins, author of Rock Star
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday March 25, 2020 

Search SEARCH FOR A FEATURE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

BLACK ROCK: BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

The culture of mateship among teenage boys is not always a positive force, as the new Australian drama, Blackrock, suggests. Andrew L. Urban spoke to the filmmakers of this powerful and controversial film.

"A lethal mix of sexuality, drugs, alcohol and freedom is what youth in the developed world have to contend with today, "and this film is about something that is happening in our society to ordinary kids, not the no-hopers," says producer David Elfick on the Sydney set of Blackrock.

Adapted by Nick Enright (Lorenzo’s Oil) from his powerful stage play, Blackrock germinated in fact: a teenage girl was raped and murdered at the tail end of a beachside party in an industrial town just north of Sydney. It was not a premeditated crime, nor was the perpetrator a ‘bad boy’. Others at the party knew something of what was going on: some came forward, some stayed silent.

"This film doesn’t preach: it raises questions the audience must consider and talk about." Producer David Elfick

They were caught between the rock of loyalty and the hard place of morality.

The subject is "very relevant and contemporary, and I believe the film is a mainstream, multiplex movie," says Elfick. "This film doesn’t preach: it raises questions the audience must consider and talk about."

"A big mistake often made in making a reality based film is to make it look like a cruddy documentary," Director Steve Vidler

First time director Steve Vidler says "The central moral question is the choice facing a 17 year old boy between loyalty to his friends and the larger issue." To make his point, Vidler is emphasising young male bonding in the context of the group of friends, allowing the audience to identify with all the characters, and to understand that bond in the context of the moral conflict.

At the same time, Vidler’s approach is cinematic. "A big mistake often made in making a reality based film is to make it look like a cruddy documentary," he says. "But if you’re doing something emotionally challenging, you have to do everything you can to keep the audience ‘in there’."

"What impressed David and Steve," says Enright, "is the way the play involved the audience without being judgemental." Writer Nick Enright

He says the film is in the style of "cinematic realism. We’re using whatever we can to heighten the emotion and the excitement."

Even though the film’s budget is "modest", Elfick says he "fought hard to raise the money. I had to convince the Film Finance Corporation that it was viable, but that’s reasonable. We started with a reasonable deal but they asked me to improve it - and we did."

Nick Enright, who has taught Vidler at NIDA, developed the script with cinema in mind, opening up the party scenes and making the role of the mother more substantial. Her own emotinal crisis, which takes place parallel to the drama, is a poignant underscore to the main theme. "What impressed David and Steve," says Enright, "is the way the play involved the audience without being judgemental. Steve always discussed the theme as how a boy becomes a man - his choices would dictate what sort of man."

May, 1997

Email this article

REVIEWS

BLACKROCK
(Australia)

CAST: Laurence Breuls, Linda Cropper, Simon Lyndon, Chris Haywood, Rebecca Smart, Essie Davis, Jessica Ledger, Justine Clare

PRODUCER: David Elfick

DIRECTOR: Steve Vidler

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Martin McGrath

SCRIPT: Nick Enright

PRODUCTION/COSTUME DESIGN: David McKay

SOUNDTRACK: Polygram Music

DEVELOPMENT ASSIST: NSW FTO

FINANCE: FFC, NSW FTO

INTERNATIONAL SALES: Beyond Films

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: PolyGram

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 1, 1997

 

See Reviews







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020