Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Snare manages to say a great deal in the space of 13 minutes and find time for some impressive drumming too."

It's 1997 and a big moment in Jobe (James Fraser)'s life. His punk band has been doing well and has now been invited to tour Japan. Back in his home town, in a Chinese restaurant which has seen better days, he meets up with his dad, Steve (Steve Rodgers), who once offered to provide financial support if such an opportunity came along. But things have changed and if the young man's dream is to come true, he'll have to respect that his dad has dreams too.

An affectionate tribute to the forefathers of modern Australian punk, Snare manages to say a great deal in the space of 13 minutes and find time for some impressive drumming too. Skinny and angular in a ripped T-shirt with a padlocked chain around his neck, Jobe would have blended fairly well into the punk crowds of the Seventies, but wasn't part of the point of the movement that people could wear whatever they wanted? He protests that his father doesn't have the right image. Apparently giving up a Proper Job to be a musician is fine in one's twenties but scandalous in one's fifties. And having tantrums when one doesn't get one's way is unacceptable in children but just fine in middle age.

Gently pointing up the two men's hypocrisies, the film also reflects on the inevitable sacrifices involved in being a parent and the ways in which punk as a force for reshaping social frameworks has run up against this. Fine tuned performances and a cracking script show us the love that exists between the two, throwing even their efforts to be selfish into chaos. The backdrop, in which the staff of the family-run restaurant come and go with polite smiles and a handful of other customers try hard to pretend they haven't noticed the argument, is beautifully realised and provides an additional layer of humour at the same time as pointing up the economic realities of the period.

"There's very little money in music," Jobe cautions his dad. There's very little money in anything, but that's not why we do it. Could it be that it really is all about the music?

Reviewed on: 27 Apr 2019
Share this with others on...
Snare packshot
At an ageing Chinese restaurant in 1997, a father and his punk musician son struggle with the roles of parent-child when they realise they each desperately need something from the other.

Director: Madeleine Gottlieb

Writer: James Fraser, Madeleine Gottlieb

Starring: Steve Rodgers, James Fraser, Edric Hong

Year: 2019

Runtime: 13 minutes

Country: Australia


Search database:

If you like this, try:

The Other F Word