Blinder scores with topical theme
ORE than 30 years after The Club, Jack Thompson proves he can still give one helluva performance as a coach in new AFL movie Blinder.
Thompson, 72, might be too old now to run with the players like he did as Collingwood’s coach in the 1980 Aussie classic, but he still commands a similarly strong presence and tough-love authority for the Torquay Tigers in Blinder.
Thompson has a couple of powerful moments, talking some sense into gifted youngster Tom Dunn (Oliver Ackland, Wasted on the Young) and motivating the players before their big games.
There are very few Aussie rules movies out there (2002’s Australian Rules among them) and with Thompson’s connection, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between Bruce Beresford’s The Club and Richard Gray’s Blinder.
With a tight, dialogue-driven script based on David Williamson’s play, The Club is a superior film, but Blinder has its moments. Instead of concentrating on the politics of the game, it focuses on themes of mateship and tackles issues including illicit drug-use.
Filmed around Torquay, Victoria, it’s set in two time frames. In the first, young Tom, a star player for Torquay Tigers, is set to go professional.
The day after a party with his footy mates, including Morts (Josh Helman, Animal Kingdom) and young water girl Sammy (Rose McIver), a scandal hits the headlines and rips dreams and friendships apart.
Flash forward 10 years and Tom is returning home from the US for the first time since the incident. As he tries to clear his name and fix a broken relationship, the film dips back into the past to reveal the lead-up to that fateful night.
The film’s dialogue misses the mark feeling very soap opera-y and the love story is a bit hard to buy considering the circumstances.
Still, the characters do seem real thanks to fine performances from Thompson and the young cast.
Sports movie cliches aside, the filmmaker’s obvious love of the game is infectious and AFL fans will likely enjoy the chance to see a footy film on the big screen.
Josh Helman stars in