IDIOT BOX: DVD
Tragi-comedy about two unemployed suburban youths, bored and frustrated, who lounge about
and fool around until they get the bright idea that their boredom would be alleviated with
a little bank robbery.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Idiot Box was released in Australian cinemas the week Urban Cinefile was launched in
February 1997. Itís a real pleasure to revisit the film on DVD, and to be reminded of
its zest, its humour and its crackling entertainment value. As I wrote at the time,
nothing that David Caesar had previously done (especially his feature film, Greenkeeping)
prepared us for this. Billed as Ďaction comedyí about two young no-hoper guys
bored titless, Idiot Box is actually a Tarantino-esque, but Australian as all getout,
tragi-comedy in which David speaks his (until now stifled) cinematic language of choice.
Mendelsohn and Sims are perfectly cast as two working class lads who ricochet around the
empty new suburbs of Australia with nothing but noise for guidance and meaning. Susie
Porter shows she was as good then as she is now, and John Polson is jawdropping in a
support role that adds edge to an already edgy film.
Bravura use of sound and music, camera angles that make-you-look-you-dirty-chook, lighting
without fear, and a total belief in the script all help drive the film with energy and
pathos in equal measure. For music, David went to You Am I, The Mark of Cain, Magic Dirt,
Snout, Crow, etc. Showcased at Torontoís film fest in the Discovery slot (August
1996), Idiot Box has what it takes to lurch its audiences on a wild joyride with a couple
of bums who - despite themselves - endear themselves to us. We care for all the
characters, and thatís thanks to David as well as his outstanding cast. But above
all, a great script and the vision to realise it.
Both Ben Mendelsohn and Susie Porter re-teamed with Caesar more recently in Caesarís
hauntingly good drama, Mullet.
The extras on this well-transferred DVD are modest but worth the time. Using the low
budget EPK (electronic press kit) that was made during filming, the interviews and the
four minute featurette cobble together some background and flesh out Caesarís
intentions and motivations. Producer Glenys Rowe contributes to the package with her take
on the film, and there is a novelty item of a piece of footage shot during production of
If you havenít seen idiot Box, there is a terrific surprise waiting for you. If you
have, youíll want to enjoy it again Ė and again. Itís bitterly funny.
Published February 14, 2002
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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia
IDIOT BOX (MA)
CAST: Ben Mendelsohn, Jeremy Sims, Robyn Loau, John Polson, Deborah Kennedy, Graeme
Blundell, Susie Porter
DIRECTOR & SCRIPT: David Caesar
RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Kaleidescope Film
DVD RELEASE: December 2001
FEATURES: Aspect ratio 4:3;
EXTRA MATERIAL: interviews with director, producer, lead actors, a location clip; short