Urban Cinefile
"Without doubt I'll make a film less successful (than The Piano) but that's all right with me, as long as it's satisfying to make. I just hope I don't get addicted to the salary level"  -Jane Campion
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday, December 16, 2017 

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

Help/Contact

TOOMELAH

SYNOPSIS:
In the remote Aboriginal community of Toomelah, 10 year old Daniel (Daniel Connors) yearns to be a gangster, like the male role models in his life, Linden (Christopher Edwards), who leads the main gang in town. Daniel skips school and has a fight with another boy over Tanitia (Danieka Connors) but it's when Bruce (Dean Daley-Jones) returns from a stint in jail that Linden gets Daniel to spy on him - which results in a dramatic confrontation and adds to the various domestic issues that beset the young Daniel as he searches for his place in the small community.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Echoing themes laid out by Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah (2009), Toomelah is an unflinching portrait of an Aboriginal boy's options in a small remote community. Ivan Sen has made the film almost like a documentary, although with well judged dramatic interventions. Yet it is a fragile work, in the sense that it lacks bombast and editorialising. If anything, the film almost recoils from the incursion of observation, punctuated by silent, internalised emotions.

Daniel Connors is a natural screen performer, but he doesn't yet know it, which adds a lustre of innocence to his work. He is both knowing and nave, brave yet childlike, and as taken with macho bravado as any boy. When this profoundly male dominated culture shows its uglier side, Daniel is confronted by the reality, as distinct from the video games he and his friends play.

The characters are all tangibly real; there is no airbrushing the blemishes, either physical or personal; the incessantly crude language of the community is not restricted to the adults and role models are few and far between. The dysfunction is palpable.

Selected for Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2011, the film is clearly the result of a single, cohesive vision which Sen completes by shooting the film himself and composing the score. It's thus a deeply personal work, especially as it is reminiscent of his childhood community.

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

IVAN SEN INTERVIEW

TOOMELAH (MA)
(Aust, 2011)

CAST: Daniel Connors, Danieka Connors, Christopher Edwards, Dean Daley-Jones

PRODUCER: David Jowsey

DIRECTOR: Ivan Sen

SCRIPT: Ivan Sen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ivan Sen

EDITOR: Ivan Sen

MUSIC: Ivan Sen

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Transmission

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 24, 2011







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017