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RIVER STREET

SYNOPSIS:
Ben (Young) is a fast-tracking, unscrupulous young real estate agent, engaged to the boss’ daughter, Sharon (MacIntosh). He is anxious to be like Sharon’s dad, Vincent (Hunter) - successful. When Vincent gives him the opportunity to make a real buck -with a 50 % share in a river-front development - he jumps at it. Except that fate has jumped first, and after an altercation, he ends up missing the auction, and facing court instead. Given community service work, he meets Wendy (Davis) and her unruly gang of kids. The drop in centre is on land owned by Wendy’s gradmother, and Ben suddenly sees fate handing him back the opportunity to do a river-front deal. Only grandma stands in the way. His conscience doesn’t stir until some dramatic events make him re-asses his mortals, as well as where his real affections lie. In the end, he has to stand by his choices, despite everything.

"The trouble with many Australian films is their inability to take a character or set of characters, and place them on a cohesive journey that has a sense of finality about it. What is refreshing about River Street is that despite its shortcomings, the film does indeed take the viewer on a character-based journey, one that is mostly satisfying. Aden Young delivers a fine and intelligent performance as Ben, a shonky, money-hungry real estate agent who discovers the true value of humanity when he ends up doing community service at a run down refuge centre. The plot is simple, but the journey Ben is sent on is complex, and one that has a true sense of completion. River Street is a satisfying film about redemption and learning the true value of oneself; the material is intelligently handled by first-time director Tony Mahood and writer Philip Ryall. Gently sardonic in its humour but more importantly, well defined by its characters, River Street is genuine, with a real emotional core that makes us care about its characters, without over-sentimentalising them. The performances are all superb, from Young, who gives a mature and insightful performance in the central role, while beautiful newcomer Essie Davis is a major find as the gutsy owner of the centre; and the always dynamic Bill Hunter is at his best as Aden's unscrupulous boss. While it may be tough for River Street to find an audience, one can only hope that it does so, because it is an Aussie movie that deserves to stay afloat."
Paul Fischer

"It’s hard to agree with Paul; throughout the film there is a sense that the script did not explore its options with either the storyline or the characters, as if afraid of its own volitality. And to me, the ending is a tad ludicrous, no matter how low your view of real estate developers. Worst of all, perhaps, is its sin of omission - Ben and Wendy never catch fire, as they surely should. Notwithstanding all that, Essie Davis proves to be star material, with a fine characterisation that is not only full of subtleties but full of fire. Technically excellent, and designed with creative flair, River Street could have been so much stronger, given a tough script editor."
Andrew L. Urban

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RIVER STREET (PG)
(Australia)

CAST: Aden Young, Bill Hunter, Essie Davis, Tammy MacIntosh, Sullivan Stapleton, Joy Smithers, Lois Ramsey, Suzi Dougherty, Matthew O’Brass, Murat Girgin, Cherise Donovan, Bruce Venables, Stig Wemyss

PRODUCER: Lynda House

DIRECTOR: Tony Mahood

SCRIPT: Philip Ryall (based on a story idea by Mahood)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Martin McGrath

EDITOR: Dany Cooper

MUSIC: David Bridie, John Phillips

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paddy Reardon

RUNNING TIME: 88 min.

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 17, 1997







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