Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

Fred, or "Mullet" to his friends, comes back from Sydney to his hometown of Coollawarra to discover the reasons he left are very much intact and the reasons to stay impossible to scrounge.

Everything he left behind when he ran off three years ago appears the same, but he's a changed man. He doesn't have time for his family's petty squabbles, or lounging around in bars with his mates. All he wants is time to relax and sort things out in the comfort of his hometown. But it's not that simple.

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A mullet is a fish that tastes horrid and very few people like them. When they are caught, they are usually thrown back. This is probably why Fred's friends gave him this nickname. Fred, himself (Ben Mendelson - a cross between Gary Oldman and Eric Bogosian), is a bit of a loser. He doesn't know what he wants, or how to get it. His ex has married his brother and he wants her back. Or, maybe he doesn't. We never really know.

None of the events hold the slightest iota of interest. Mendelson shuffles around looking catatonically depressed and uttering his lines in a laboured and difficult way. There are no attractive women, all the men are louts and the dialogue seems repetitive.

Nothing is resolved in a satisfactory way and David Caesar's self-important, superficial direction keeps you aware of the fact that the film wishes for a superior ranking, like it is trying to be a low-key family drama. It has been described as a comedy, but I could find no such element here.

Movies that aim for realism should still have some humour. Mullet has none at all. Not even the scene where his ex eats an entire bowl of sugar - it's just weird. Perhaps, she is trying to inject a dose of sweetness into an otherwise depressing situation.

The man who edited this movie should never work again. The weather constantly jumps between sunny and overcast and characters appear to teleport everywhere. No kidding! Check out the scene in the barmaid's bedroom.

Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2001
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A man returns to his hometown... and regrets it.
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Director: David Caesar

Writer: David Caesar

Starring: Ben Mendelson, Susie Porter, Andrew S. Gilbert, Belinda McClory, Tony Barry, Kris McQuade, Peta Brady, Wayne Blair, Paul Kelman

Year: 2001

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia


EIFF 2001

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