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IS THIS THE REAL WORLD

SYNOPSIS: Mark Blazey (Sean Keenan) is a high school kid who's going to stay young...even if it kills him. Growing up in an Australian coastal town, Mark locks into a relentless battle of wills with a controlling teacher, Mr Rickard (Greg Stone) while his family is breaking apart, and first love is beating at his door.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Absolutely first class performances give this film a helping hand: from experienced hands like Suzie Porter as Anna the mum and Greg Stone as the vice principal at school together with newcomer Sean Keenan as Mark, Charlotte Best as his first girlfriend, Kim, and young Elise MacDougall as younger sister Marley, all contribute visceral, touching characterisations.

Julia Blake plays grandma in a household with an absent father and a troublesome older boy, Jimmy (a brooding debut from Matt Colwell), and the dynamics are beautifully played by Suzie Porter as the distracted, loving but ultimately besieged mother.

The story is not strong or layered enough to carry us along and the direction too often relies on fillers to bridge plot points and narrative arcs, but the performances largely make up for that and keep our attention. There is not a sense of scale (a frequent failing in Australian cinema) that warrants the big screen, even though the subject matter is relevant and timely. Teenage rebellion and its consequences is always relevant, but the smalltown setting - social as well as geographic - limits the power of the narrative.

Ellery Ryan's cinematography is effective, using natural light and his framing is dramatic. The resolution is a tad too pat and prescriptive for a positive ending, but that's what audiences want.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

IS THIS THE REAL WORLD (MA15+)
(Aust, 2015)

CAST: Sean Keenan, Charlotte Best, Matt Colwell, Suzie Porter, Julia Blake, Greg Stone, Hannes Berger

PRODUCER: Deborah Barlow, John Hipwell, Martin McKenna, Alison Telford, Ben Michael

DIRECTOR: Martin McKenna

SCRIPT: Martin McKenna

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ellery Ryan

EDITOR: Ben Joss

MUSIC: Robert Murray Jamieson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sally Shepherd

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Label Distribution

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 2, 2016







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