Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Castle

This is an interesting little movie. It was pretty low budget, even by australian standards, but boy did they buy a lot with their money. The laughs in this film never really stop, and I routinely quote lines from it. And it has a pretty interesting cast. Beyond the main stars, it features a very early Eric Bana, and an Anthony Simcoe with no Makeup on.. since the only thing most people would have seen him play in the U.S. is D'Argo on Farscape that should be fairly unique to any fan of that series.

The basic premise is that years ago, Darrel Karrigan (Micheal Caton) bought some cheap land at the bottom of a runway, near some high voltage lines and built a house on it. Over time he built a successful car towing business and raised a family. He turned his home into his Castle. But as Airports are wont to do, it now needs to expand. That means the Karrigan's and their neighbors have to go.

Compulsory Acquisition. In the U.S. it's called Eminent Domain. Same Principle. Government comes in either for their own ends or to further the ends of a business in some way.. and decides they want your land and will buy it from you whether you want to sell or not. Usually they offer below market value. But they never recoup you for sentimental attachment to the dwelling.

After everyone on the block refuses, a mysterious man begins showing up and making veiled threats to the homeowners. Darrel's son pulls a shotgun on him, but their neighbor Faroouq threatens back. He's from Beirut you see... and deals with the threatening man by saying "You know friend.. I know friend.. you're friend beat me up.. my friend blow you to fucking sky!" After this Dale, decides to fight.

At first its all just petty stuff, but eventually he decides to fight legally. He's unfortunately not the brightest fellow in the world, and dosen't really have a lot of money. So he hires the pretty low level solicitor who represented his son on a B&E charge.. a charge that was upheld by the court and that son is still in Jail.

When he goes for the court case, he happens to strike up a conversation with a man who has come to see his son's first case. The man, Lawrence (Charles 'Bud' Tingwell) happens to be a retired QC, or Queens Council. A QC who also happens to be a Constitutional Law specialist. They begin a friendship, and he agrees to represent the neighborhood in case, using the Malbo and the Tasmanian Damn's cases to build their own. Finally settling on the term "Just terms" in Australian Constitution.

Long story short, they win their case, it becomes precedent in Australian law, the airport will have to expand in a different direction and everything works out fine. It's a nice story.

For whatever reason this movie has been pretty hard to come by on DVD. As far as I know in fact its not even actually available in Australia for purchase. The US version has also been edited some what. They didn't really change the slang, but they changed the names of foods, TV shows that the characters watch, and replaced words like "Cladding" with "Siding" in reference to the building material. They also replaced all the music. So if your a purist then you will either have to suffer through the Americanized version or do without. But to me, It didn't bother me, and I've seen both versions.


Kris said...

I tracked down a copy of this yesterday. I can't wait to check it out!

Lagomorph Rex said...

Yeah I hope you like it, It's been one of my favorites since I first found it years ago in a corner of Blockbuster's covered in dust.