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BOOTMEN: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Newcastle is a working class seaside town, with steel at its heart - but not in it. The brothers Sean (Adam Garcia) and Mitchell (Sam Worthington), have been tap dancing since they were toddlers. As young men, they work in the steel mill like everyone else, but Sean's feet are pointing away from here, to tap into his future. Mitchell is more inclined to start a trucking business. Their widowed dad prefers Mitch's option, unaware that Mitchell is doing a bit of illegal car stripping to help save up for a truck. This creates bitter rivalry with a fellow car 'operator', which leads to a fatal confrontation. Meanwhile, both brothers fall for Linda (Sophie Lee), with dramatic consequences. And in a tough town like Newcastle, where dancing men are often misunderstood, it takes the town's misfortune to put Sean's tapping ambitions into perspective.

If you didnít see the film in the cinema, this is the next best thing: sadly, there are no commentaries or location features, but the film itself is a great rental proposition.

Brothers Sean (Adam Garcia) and Mitchell (Sam Worthington), have been tap dancing since they were kids. Now they work in the steel mill like everyone else in Newcastle, but Sean's feet are pointing away from there, to tap into his future. Mitchell is more inclined to start a trucking business. Their widowed dad prefers Mitch's option, unaware that Mitchell is doing a bit of illegal car stripping to help save up for a truck. This creates bitter rivalry with a fellow car 'operator', which leads to a fatal confrontation. Meanwhile, both brothers fall for Linda (Sophie Lee), with dramatic consequences. And in a working class town like Newcastle, men who dance are often mistaken for sissies or poofters; it takes misfortune to put Sean's tap dancing ambitions into perspective.

If you ever suffered under the misconception that dancing is a sissy thing for men to do, this film will certainly challenge that. They tap on metal grills, on giant rolling tubes of steel, on metal trapdoors and cages, they tap on concrete floors and - memorably on a set of steel toilets in a row (under construction, so no walls are in place). Their giant metal taps are attached to workmen's boots with giant soles and bulbous toes. Their costumes are their clothes; jeans, singlets, shirts tied round the waist in the fashion of 2000 and tousled hair. The working class origins of the world famous Tap Dogs and Steel City troupe are here preserved and massaged for all they are worth.

But a word of warning: this is not a lighthearted musical with lots of tap dancing to a rhythm splattered soundtrack. It has the latter, but the film is a drama with tragic elements, and the tap dancing is an integral part of the story, with emotional and psychological elements. Not that it's 'heavy'; far from it; in fact some of it is out loud funny, and some of it is wryly amusing. In fact the script is a ripper, handling the varied elements and moods with fine judgement, translated onto the screen with verve, energy and flair by Dein Perry, whose own Newcastle upbringing provided some of the seed elements for the story. He also handles the chunky, industrial strength choreography, which has evolved through the phenomenally successful Tap Dogs and Steel City stage shows.

All the same, movie fans will recognise the classic hallmarks of some old Hollywood standards here (including an unaccountably expanded tapping troupe which performs the finale number - but this is a forgivable invention in the scheme of things), based on the premise of mounting a show against all the odds for a resounding finale. Bootmen is unmistakably Australian, however, and never allows sloppy sentimentality to loosen its dramatic grip on the audience, delivered by the best ensemble cast you're likely to see in a movie full of dancers, including Adam Garcia's outstanding screen debut in the lead role.
Andrew L. Urban

Published July 12, 2001



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FEATURE

ADAM GARCIA Visionstream Interview

BOOTMEN (M)
(Aust)

CAST: Adam Garcia, Sam Worthington, Sophie Lee, William Zappa, Matt Lee, Chris Horsey, Lee McDonald, Drew Kaluski, Jonno Zissler, Richard Carter, Anthony Hayes, Justine Clarke, Susie Porter, Bruce Venables and Dein Perry

DIRECTOR: Dein Perry

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: May 2, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES
None (scene selection)
Presentation: widescreen 1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced, Dolby 5.1
Subtitles for hearing impaired (English)







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