Freddy (Kick Gurry) dreams of being a rock star, and together with his bass player girlfriend Tanya (Pia Miranda), mohawk brandishing, drug-loving drummer Lucy (Chris Sadrinna) and brooding guitarist Joe (Brett Stiller) are keen to get a break with the help of their well-meaning but clunky manager Bruno (Russell Dykstra). Joe’s dad Kevin (Andy Anderson) is an old rocker from the 70s, and although Joe is going out with Kate (Maya Stange), he is bewitched by the dark and death-obsessed Angie (Yvette Duncan). When Freddy gets to meet the edgy Manager of the Year, Shad Kern (Marton Csokas), he is convinced that this is their big chance.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Visually stimulating, Garage Days is about a garage band’s rise through vague hopes and crazy coincidences to commercial oblivion, while studying its internal nuclear fusion as its members collide and connive. Energized by digital effects and stylistic flourishes, the film almost over-achieves in the style stakes, as it collates various signature items to add texture to the story. Alex Proyas, coming off darker material, sets himself a huge challenge in taking on a genre that requires outcomes of dreams satisfied. It’s an American genre. He subverts it. And it isn’t totally successful, but the flaws are almost too small to identify. Which just goes to show how unforgiving cinema is. There is nothing wrong with the film, but it’s characters fail to engage us deeply enough and the excellent cast seem unable to develop depth in their characters – through no fault of their own. Set very clearly and pointedly in Sydney’s newest cosmopolitan centre, Newtown, Garage Days is at once specific and general in its treatment of youth at the door of opportunity and growth. Equally optimistic and downbeat in tone, the film ends up accenting good humour and fun – especially notable in the end credits, which revel in a sense of 70s style exuberance. And music. The hopes and aspirations of youth are well captured, complicated by the issues of real life. In that, it succeeds. Kick Gurry and Marton Csokas are most memorable, and there is a great sense of exhilaration throughout that is most appealing.
Review by Louise Keller:
In a surprising turnaround for director Alex Proyas, whose penchant for film noir and the supernatural is well known. Garage Days is an upbeat, somewhat quirky and energetic film about dreams, relationships and rock bands. The emphasis is on fun, and while the characters stumble and bumble through the maze of obstacles that stand between them and their goals, it’s a light hearted romp with plenty of humour. I especially enjoyed the rather offbeat touches – like the scene when the band is trying to impress at the dinner table in a bid to raise money, but start hallucinating when their drinks are spiked with liquid ecstasy. Heads explode in flames, extra digits grow and the conservative parents perform an extravagant dance routine. What’s funky is fabulous – from the film’s stylised structure to the wonderful effects (beautifully mastered by Animal Logic), like a raindrop that falls in slow motion before bouncing on the ground, or a pill capsule that lingers in mid air before descending into an expectantly wide-open mouth. Perhaps the characters aren’t well enough established: the central love relationship doesn’t impact as greatly as it should, and although the characters are likeable, I didn’t really care who ended up with whom. Performances are good – in particular Kick Gurry as the lovable, unrealistic dreamer and Marton Csokas’s stylised, slimy agent Shad who is deliciously vile. Look out for the scene when Russel Dykstra’s foot-in-mouth band manager interrupts Shad’s under-the-table illicit sexual encounter – it’s a hoot and delivers one of the film’s funniest scenes. Pia Miranda’s no nonsense bass player looking for an orgasm is a far departure from Looking for Alibrandi’s Josie and Chris Sadrinna is wonderfully weird as the drug-obsessed drummer. It may not please all Proyas’ fans that delight in his dark vision, but with its toe-tapping and pleasing soundtrack and crazy characters, Garage Days is a crazy ride with cool characters with far-reaching fantasies.
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MAYA STANGE INTERVIEW by Andrew L. Urban
GARAGE DAYS (MA)
CAST: Kick Gurry, Pia Miranda, Chris Sadrinna, Marton Csokas, Brett Stiller, Maya Stange, Russell Dykstra, Andy Anderson, Yvette Duncan
PRODUCER: Alex Proyas, Topher Dow
DIRECTOR: Alex Proyas
SCRIPT: Alex Proyas, Dave Warner, Michael Udesky
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Simon Duggan ACS
EDITOR: Richard Learoyd
MUSIC: David McCormack, Andrew Lancaster, Antony Partos
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Philips
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 3, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: June 18, 2003 (Also on DVD)