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Sample people

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Sydney, on the brink of the new millennium.

The city is intense, sophisticated, hard edged and relentless deep within the inner city twelve young lives interweave and ricochet off each other as they each seek escape routes over the course of one sweltering weekend. hyper real and glam, hip hop, trip hop, pop rock, brimming with the sub-cultures of a dense metropolis, the world of Sample people takes an entire city to unfold.

Persons of interest

  • Kylie Minogue .... Jess
  • Ben Mendelsohn .... John
  • Simon Lyndon .... Andy
  • David Field .... TT
  • Joel Edgerton .... Sem
  • Paula Arundell .... Cleo
  • Nathan Page .... Len
  • Nathalie Roy .... Lush Puppy
  • Justin Rosniak .... Joey
  • Matthew Wilkinson .... Gus
  • Ghandi Macintyre .... Phil
  • Dorian N'Kono .... Shiva
  • Peter Buckmaster .... Screenwriter
  • Clinton Smith .... Screenwriter
  • Clinton Smith .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Pulp Newtown.

Yep, that's what I said: Pulp Newtown. Imagine Quentin Tarantino's Pulp fiction (interweaving stories about unrelated people) meeting up with Sydney's favourite low rent, inner city suburb. But unlike the lounge room interpersonal drama of Erskinville kings (the next suburb down from Newtown), Sample people has pretensions of grandeur. It looks beyond the never ending, mind-dulling soap opera that is life and goes for the highlights: the parties, the cons, the excitement, the sex, the betrayals, the love.

It's fun.

There's a use of colour and light in this film that pushes it right up there at the top of the scale for me. Lots of bold blues, yellows, reds, greens, golds... sunlight, shadow, high key and that special washed-out Australian summer thing that you have to sweat through to understand. Yay. So much light that there's too much light, even when you're inside with the curtains drawn. Nights that are little more than a pause in the day, as if the sun's attention wandered for a moment but will be right back, well before you're ready.

I want to mention some of the acting at this point. Simon, last seen on the big screen in Blackrock, has certainly grown up a lot in the intervening years. His performance has more subtleties to it than before and is a whole lot more masculine. He is becoming a man and exportable at the same time. Kylie is completely un-Kylie and, more importantly, completely un-Charlene. It's good to see her doing something that is against type and doing it well.

Ben, meanwhile, is so good that I didn't even know he was in the film until he read the credits. He captures his character totally... destroying his clichéd boy virgin next door and dopey hanger on characters with a wild, in your face multi-sexual scene queen. He is great. There's best supporting actor written all over him.

Top credit, however, goes to Joel as simpatico Sem, a character which could be as exciting as blancmange but into which he breathes not only life but soul. He is understated but is never overshadowed by the more flamboyant characters around him; he is lost but retains an air of integrity that few can muster or master. I am already nominating him for Best actor with a penis.

While the premise of Sample people is very American (since when did Aussies carry guns let alone use them?) it is still unmistakably an Australian film and unashamedly inner city. If you don't see it you won't be forced to commit hari kari, but if you do see it, you won't be wasting your money.

Who says I have to be unambiguous?

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Drug use, medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

97 minutes (1:37 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 11 May 2000

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Sample people image

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