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Hurly burly

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Hurly burly: tumult; disorder; great noise or commotion; mob scene; blah blah...

Dave Rabe's powerful screen-adaptation of his play about drug-taking bachelor swingers in the middle echelons of Hollywood is as corrosive a study of male bonding and one-upmanship as you could hope for. Sean Penn is a self-destructive casting director raging at the void and Kevin Spacey is his cold, smoothie house mate in their chilly Hollywood hills bachelor pad. Chazz Palminteri and Garry Shandling are their scuzzy friends. Meg Ryan, Robin Wright-Penn and Anna Paquin are the women they use as pawns.

Winner of best actor (Sean Penn) 98 Venice Film Festival.

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Drug use, adult themes, sexual references.

Hurly burly is about being powerful, rich and messed-up on drugs in an industry that celebrates drug use, adult themes and sexual references in the private lives of its members. Where Bowfinger examines poor, struggling and essentially decent human beings in a humourous fashion, Hurly burly is more interested in damaged goods.

Usually I would leap at the opportunity to view a film about damaged goods. I get off on that sort of thing (in a cinematic way, of course). I didn't get off on Hurly burly.

This movie is one of the most difficult films I have had to watch. It's long, the dialogue is so dense that it's almost impenetrable, the plot is absent, the characters are liars. They live in a world where reality is some thing that to create, alter and play with at whim. Sure, it's quite funny. Sure, it's dark. Sure, it's aggressive. But anyone who watches this film is in serious danger of getting passive testosterone poisoning.

Hurly burly is a hard-edged aggro drama for serious movie aficionados. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Drug use, adult themes, sexual references)

Not for public release in Australia before date

28 July 1999

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