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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 one scene.

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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CAST: Ben Mendelsohn, Jeremy Sims, Robyn Loau, John Polson, Deborah Kennedy, Graeme Blundell, Susie Porter


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 promotional documentary

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