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A dozen young (and some not so young) characters cross paths one weekend in Sydney, seeking escape, love, drugs, a good time or just somewhere to hide a briefcase full of cash. Among them are tough guy crim, TT (David Field), his girl, Jess (Kylie Minogue), DJ Lush Puppy (Nathalie Roy), the eccentric John (Ben Mendelsohn), Andy (Simon Lyndon), and the troubled lovers Sem (Joel Edgerton) and Cleo (Paula Rundell).

"Exploding with colour, sound and dazzle, Sample People is a striking and entertaining look at a quirky slice of Aussie life. Wonderfully rich characters are meshed into the hyperbole of life's complex maze. Very much a visceral experience, Clinton Smith 's innovative direction compels us deeper and deeper. There are inventive ideas, fabulous production design and Rafael May's pulsating soundtrack hypnotizes. Sydney is part of the design the inner city, the multi-culturalism, the harbour all look superb. We taste the energy through the people, the culture, the hot spots, and the subtle message that drugs and violence do not lead to a happy ending is conveyed. Phil the felafel bar owner is the voice of conscience, coming up with such gems as 'to know one's actions is to know one's self'. Sample People comes to life through fabulous performances from a top, top cast. Simon Lyndon is great leading man material, while Ben Mendelsohn as you have never seen him before is simply extraordinary. Kylie Minogue looks sensational and toys with her screen persona as a cat plays with a mouse. I especially liked Ghandi Macintyre as Phil, but Nathalie Roy as Lush Puppy, David Field as TT and Paul Arundell as Cleo are all worthy of mention. Fantasy, reality, coping with life and all its hurdles are splashed liberally on a blank canvass with no holds barred. Upbeat, cool and positively sizzling with pizzazz, Sample People is a thumping, exciting new colour on the palette of Australian film."
Louise Keller

"Sample People is a deceptively complex and ambitious film - it appears to be all frolicking youth in search of a thunderstruck weekend, while it also has something to say. Namely that 'cool' does not guarantee anything, nor sanction everything. There is a morality behind the script that's unexpected, and the observation that any sample of people is unpredictable. It certainly has appeal for its youth market, but should also give a broader audience a cinematic jolt. Clinton Smith (with his DoP David Foreman and editor Frans Vandenburg) have created a visually exciting and viscerally gutsy look, well aided by the production designers. Composer Rafael May brings it all together in our head, making Sample People one of the most invigorating new Australian films of recent times. The performances are all outstanding: Ben Mendelsohn's outrageously dissolute John is award winning - not to mention audience winning - stuff. Simon Lyndon and David Field are equally impressive, but so is everyone. While the script loses some of its punch in the middle, it is nevertheless a terrific piece of contemporary writing and observation. This is one of the first films financed by Melbourne based Scanbox, whose commercial instincts appear to be accurate. Sample People is no Trainspotting clone; it carves out its own culturally specific ground and does so with enormous energy and creative schtuzpah."
Andrew L. Urban

"An Aussie Pulp Fiction for the rave generation? Well, not quite. Sample People is a blend of dance, drugs, crime and violence played out over one summer weekend in Sydney. Clearly aimed at the 18-25 demographic, it works pretty well as an examination of Gen-Y pop culture and angst. What don't come off are the thriller elements, which tend to be formulaic and in the end, add little to the actual story. Director Clinton Smith displays plenty in the way of visual style but not a lot in the way of discipline in this tale of intersecting (and in some cases, colliding) lives. Plotlines go nowhere on occasion, and there's a distinct lack of believability about several scenes. Some characters, like Sem and Lush Puppy, are so underdeveloped, they're little more than window dressing. However, when Smith turns his attention to real issues (as opposed to the latest fashions), the film works a lot better. As a result, the two characters furthest removed from the dance scene - Joey and Gus, who are the outsiders looking in - end up being the most interesting. The young cast makes a fair fist of the material. The more experienced Ben Mendelsohn and David Field are the standouts; but Paula Arundell has a good turn as the flighty Cleo. And despite her presence in just about every promotional shot for the film, Kylie Minogue's role is quite a minor one. While there is some interesting stuff in Sample People, its patchiness makes it a less than engrossing experience."
David Edwards

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Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

VIDEO RELEASE: September 27, 2000


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CAST: Kylie Minogue, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Lyndon, David Field, Joel Edgerton, Paula Arundell, Nathan Page, Nathalie Roy, Justin Rosniak, Matthew Wilkinson, Ghandi Macintyre, Dorian N'Kono.

DIRECTOR: Clinton Smith

PRODUCER: Emile Sherman, Barton Smith

SCRIPT: Clinton Smith, Peter Buckmaster


EDITOR: Frans Vandenburg

MUSIC: Rafael May

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michelle McGahey, John Santucci

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes



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