Blin­der scores with top­i­cal theme

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

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.

opens to­day.

Josh Hel­man stars in

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