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REDBALL

SYNOPSIS:
A series of snapshots inside the Homicide, Vice and Drug squads of a city like Melbourne, revealing the psychoses of heavy duty police work – and the blurring of lines between right/wrong, law/expediency, loyalty/betrayal, professionalism/self-seeking – and love/hate. The central figure is Homicide detective JJ Wilson (Belinda McClory), obsessed with catching a serial abuser and killer of children, with her partner Robbie Walsh (John Brumpton). Their work crosses paths with Drug squad detectives Rix Dixakos (Damien Richardson) and Maxie Mallesson (James Young), a couple of young but already badly corrupted officers who think nothing of loading up a petty crim. The third police duo is CIB detectives Hill (Frank Magree) and Fry (Peter Docker) who use their street authority to coerce two young women into sex. Wilson, under intense pressure from within the force, believes she is getting close, but there is something wrong with the way her closest colleagues are behaving . . .

"An incisive, decisive and concise film about working and living in the belly of the police beast, Redball is as effective in its own narrowly defined genre of police flicks as anything a cashed up American filmmaker would deliver. Better than many, in fact, with its superb cast and searing script, bold original music (and great soundtrack, too) and dynamic structure. Thematically, it is a shattering indictment of modern police culture – and not the obvious corruption angle, but how the work degrades even the most idealistic cop seeking genuine law enforcement outcomes. Crime and law enforcement, moral right and wrong have fused into one ugly twin, and there is enough credence to the incidents to make it perhaps the scariest film I’ve seen for a long time. It has angered Victorian police, which is not a surprising reaction, but it is not the one that’s most appropriate. Nor should a police force feel singled out: this is a case of seeing ‘through the particular into the general’: it’s showing us a universal malaise. Made on a small budget, Redball sizzles with style, prickles with tension and hums with twisted humanity. Hewitt achieves his objective and tells his story forcefully, engagingly and with plenty of cinematic flair. Redball is unquestionably an important film, both as cinema and as social statement. See it and weep."
Andrew L. Urban

"Insightful and candid, Redball is a stark, no holds barred glimpse at the inner workings of the police force and its impact on those who work there. Brash, yet revealing, we glimpse the personal anguish, the temptations, the pitfalls and the voice of conscience; the camera angles and editing reflecting differing ways of looking at situations. Jon Hewitt's clear vision to tell this story is effected with skill and simplicity. The entanglement of personal with professional lives is naturally revealed, while the evil face of greed and delusion masks the black and white images of right and wrong. Here is an acutely controversial film that raises many issues and may well cause outrage. The various corruption issues will no doubt be fuel for considerable controversy; this film offers a decisive and opinionated view. Belinda McClory is simply superb, effective in defining the emotions with understatement, strength and decisiveness. Engrossing and disturbing, Redball is a ride on the rollercoaster of corruption - a powerful work that leaves a profound impact."
Louise Keller

"The year in Australian cinema may have begun in lacklustre fashion, with such innocuously bland works as Dear Claudia and Paperback Hero. Amiable as they may have been, they were examples of a safe industry. With Redball, however, comes a no-nonsense, confronting, powerhouse of a movie. Low budget it may be, but it's the kind of intense, solid drama our industry should be proud of. It's a film that delves into the psychoses of police corruption, it explores the brutality of a force trying to stay afloat, and it deals with the effects of violence and depravity on conventional society. It's a film that takes risks; there are no heroes in this unconventional drama, no stereotypical caricatures for audiences to cling to. This is a story of flawed individuals and a misuse of power, a film that has no pap conclusions, all neatly wrapped up to make it easy for the audience. Yet this is what makes Redball such a dynamic and original film, with its innovative structure and audacious editing, that help create a powerfully real work. Tautly directed by Jon Hewitt, and featuring powerhouse performances by Belinda McClory and John Brumpton, Redball packs a wallop, yet is darkly funny as it is uncompromisingly stark. This is a vivid, multifaceted drama, a superb film in every way, and the first great Aussie film of the year."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

See Andrew L. Urban's interview with
BELINDA McCLORY

REDBALL(M15+)
(Australia)

CAST: Belinda McClory, John Brumpton, Frank Magree, Peter Docker, Anthea Davis, Neil Pigot, Damien Richardson, James Young, Robert Morgan, Paulene Terry-Beitz,

DIRECTOR: John Hewitt

PRODUCER: Meredith King, Phillip Parslow

SCRIPT: John Hewitt

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mark Pugh

EDITOR: Alan Woodruff, Cindy Clarkson

MUSIC: Neil McGrath

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Vanessa Cerne

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 29, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: November 9, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment







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