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Erskineville kings

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In the face of death, two brothers try to make sense out of life.

Barky (Marty Denniss), a lost soul of 25, returns from the Queensland cane fields to his hometown, inner-city Erskineville. He left two years ago to escape his drunken and abusive father, leaving behind everything in the world that was important to him. His brother Wace (Hugh Jackman). His girlfriend Lanny (Leah Vandenberg). His life. Now that his father's dead, he thinks it's safe to come home, but he soon discovers that if staying home was hard, coming home is harder.

Wace is bitter. His brother ran away just like their mother. Wace toughed it out. alone he stood by his dying father. After two years and no explanation, can Wace take his brother back? With everything on the line will Barky choose again to leave it all behind? In the Kings Hotel the two brothers try to make sense out of life after their father's death. Beer, anger and pain prove to be a dangerous mix.

Persons of interest

  • Marty Denniss .... Barky
  • Hugh Jackman .... Wace
  • Leah Vandenberg .... Lanny
  • Aaron Blabey .... Trunny
  • Joel Edgerton .... Wayne
  • Andrew Wholley .... Coppa
  • Marin Mimica .... Kane
  • Alan White .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Awards and film festivals:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Once were wankers.

Erskineville kings is a documentary set to drama, bound by the grinding reality of inner-urban-Sydney existence. No opera houses, no harbour bridges, just low rent terrace houses, warehouses and foreign language video stores. Brick, concrete, power lines, faded posters, asphalt, grit.

Likewise, the characters are ground down by the reality of their existence: pain, fear, boredom. Summer heat radiating from road and sky and wall. Sweat, tears, blood.

Bad blood.


Hugh is pretty damned legendary: dark, sexy, menacing, damaged, visiting upon himself the sins of his father. Marty is messed up, pure and simple. Punching bag for the father, punching bag for the son. So messed up. They collide and bounce off each other like the proverbial force and object and the best thing about it is that neither of them wins.

The supporting cast carry their hearts on their sleeves and their pain in their eyes. No-one is free from pain. No matter how good it gets, it will never be enough.

Alan White's direction is in yer face, never allowing your eye the chance to linger on a piece of beauty, never allowing your ear to hear the silence. There is no beauty, there is no silence. (Be warned). Likewise, DoP John Swaffield bewitches you with the hard-edged reality of Erskineville: heat, glare, dirt, grit...

There are a couple of things I don't like: the resolution of the fraternal conflict (there should be more residue) and the happy ending (well, as happy as this film gets) but these are minor aspects of the film, so you are free to ignore them.

For a portrait of inner west twentysomethings you will find no better than Erskineville kings.

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level coarse language, adult themes, drug use)

Surveillance time

85 mintues (1:25 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 23 September 1999 - Sydney, Melbourne
Film: 30 September 1999 - Adelaide

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