Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"Its plot unfolds in fits and starts, like summer holidays remembered."

Galore is more or less about a teenage love triangle set against the backdrop of the Canberra wildfires of 2003, and while the latter is a topic relatively unexplored, the former is a road sufficiently well-travelled that it's hard to avoid cliché when talking about it. Tight shots of faces and the play of light through hair create genuine intimacy; its plot unfolds in fits and starts, like summer holidays remembered; the performances are natural, characterisation convincing. Yet all this stuff, the messy relationships, the trouble with the law, even the chronological offset are all familiar tunes. Well played, undoubtedly, but a subject well covered.

Rhys Graham directs, and is credited as screenwriter, and in as much as one can judge it's a convincing portrayal of a friendship between two young women tested by the boy that only one of them knows they share. Ashleigh Cummings and Lily Sullivan are good as Billie and Laura, each of them in their own way infatuated with Toby Wallace's Danny. When Billie's mum (Maya Stange) offers space to 'troubled' Isaac (Aliki Matangi) it puts further tensions on Billie's complex web of relationships.

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A conversation between mother and daughter while the Pixies' Gigantic plays in the background at least has the decency to have it on vinyl, and their discussion covers all sorts of ground, but it's just a bit too expository, a bit too earnest - for a film which is otherwise keen in its observation of adolescence it's a bit try-hard. It's perhaps a little on the nose when we cut away from the convoluted romantic entanglements to two younger kids literally playing with fire, but Galore just about gets away with it. The narration makes it clear from the off that disaster is coming, but the nature and scale of it unfolds slowly before us.

There's every chance that Galore might be transformative for someone who sees it, imparting a life lesson if it catches an audience who haven't heard these tunes, seen these scenes, haven't (perhaps) yet discovered that everywhere you grow up is differently rubbish. It's got some ambitions: even though it's got a lot of hazy, lazy days, it's also got some tautly dramatic confrontations, plenty of shouting and screaming and smashing and crashing. When it gets a bit middle of the road, it does swerve to avoid it, but a general lack of traction in the film means that it doesn't quite grip. It's well made, beautifully shot, but, much like the suburbia it depicts, quite likely to be bypassed unless you've a specific reason to go there.

Reviewed on: 21 Jun 2014
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A dramatic love triangle set against the backdrop of raging bushfires. The summer nights hardly cool off and the parties keep getting wilder. Falling in love for the first time is a mysterious thing and here lies the danger for Billie, Danny and Laura.

Director: Rhys Graham

Writer: Rhys Graham

Starring: Ashleigh Cummings, Lily Sullivan, Toby Wallace, Maya Stange, Oscar Redding, Daniel Webber, Natasha Novak, Aliki Matangi, Kallum Humphries, Angus Murphy, Elena Pellone, Ben Toyer, Rylie Humphries, Daniel Ruspandini, Graham Gall

Year: 2013

Runtime: 103 minutes

Country: Australia


BIFF 2014
EIFF 2014

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