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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

A WON­DER­FULLY strange and greatly mov­ing film from Aus­tralian di­rec­tor Robert Con­nolly, Three Dollars (Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One) is a dis­turb­ing parable for our times. When I first re­viewed it in 2004 I com­pared its hero Ed­die (David Wen­ham) to Willy Lo­man, both vic­tims in a ruth­less world of cost-cut­ting and in­hu­man­ity. Ed­die is happily mar­ried to Tanya (Frances O’Con­nor) and they have a much-loved lit­tle daugh­ter. Their world col­lapses when Ed­die loses his job in a govern­ment re­struc­ture and Tanya, through no fault of her own, is sacked as well. Do­mes­tic con­tent­ment col­lapses in bick­er­ing, frayed nerves and a grow­ing de­spair. Ed­die, sud­denly des­ti­tute, is re­deemed by his friend­ship with Nick (Robert Men­zies), a re­formed al­co­holic and drifter who shows him how to scav­enge for food and takes him to an old men’s shel­ter. In his way, Nick rep­re­sents self­less­ness and com­pas­sion, and the char­ac­ter — part neme­sis, part saviour and half-de­ranged ap­pari­tion — is beau­ti­fully achieved by Men­zies.

Like Sam Peck­in­pah’s Straw Dogs and Ken Rus­sell’s The Devils, John Boor­man’s De­liv­er­ance (Fri­day, 1.30am, Nine) was one of a hand­ful of films that helped change Aus­tralian cen­sor­ship laws in the early 1970s. The in­tro­duc­tion of an R-cer­tifi­cate for films with strong vi­o­lence and sex­ual con­tent al­lowed De­liv­er­ance to be screened in 1972. It’s the story of four At­lanta busi­ness­men (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) who take a hol­i­day trip to­gether in the Ap­palachian wild, partly to test their pow­ers of sur­vival with­out the com­forts of civil­i­sa­tion. But the trip be­comes a night­mare when they are at­tacked by a mys­te­ri­ous band of moun­tain men. Boor­man brings an un­canny sense of dread to this vi­o­lent and strangely beau­ti­ful film, based on a novel by James Dickey.

By my count, Su­per­man has re­turned at least four times since his ap­pear­ance in the orig­i­nal comic strip adap­ta­tion in 1978. And while we’re wait­ing for his next re­turn, in Zack Sny­der’s Man of Steel, I rec­om­mend Su­per­man Re­turns (Satur­day, 8.30pm, Nine) — a lik­able blend of ac­tion, ro­mance and tongue-in-cheek hu­mour and among the best su­per­hero films to come from Hol­ly­wood. Di­rected by Bryan Singer ( The Usual Sus­pects), it fol­lows from the events of the sec­ond film, re­leased in 1980, and stars Christopher Reeve look-alike Bran­don Routh. Re­turn­ing from a five-year ab­sence in Kryp­ton, Su­per­man dis­cov­ers that Lois Lane has moved on and his neme­sis, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), is plot­ting to de­stroy the world. Most of it was filmed in Syd­ney. Mar­lon Brando reprises his role as Su­per­man’s dad, and it’s a nice touch when Clark Kent dis­cov­ers Lois Lane has won a Pulitzer prize for an ar­ti­cle, Why the World Doesn’t Need Su­per­man’’. Who do they think they’re kid­ding?

(M) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One

(PG) ★★★ Satur­day, 8.30pm, Nine

(MA15+) ★★★✩✩ Fri­day, 1.30am, Nine

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