Finding Australia in "Gettin' Square" (2003) Film Review by TemiA

Finding Australia in "Gettin' Square" (2003)
An analysis of how well the film "Gettin' Square" (2003) represented Australian national identity.
# 153877 | 2,356 words | 7 sources | APA | 2014 | US
Published on May 30, 2014 in Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)

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A major focus of Australian cinema since its inception has been with representing and maintaining an idea of Australian national identity. However, a recent shift towards globalization has led to more films that replicate or are in collaboration with Hollywood. The need for a clearly defined national identity has diminished, giving way for films like Johnathan Teplitzky's "Gettin' Square". This paper intends to explore the "Australian-ness" of the film to determine whether it maintains a traditional view of Australian national identity.

From the Paper:

"Although Teplitzky does not open the film with a sweeping tour of the landscape, as many AFC-era films tended to do, he makes a considerable effort to feature the Gold Coast and its scenery throughout the film. The sunny beach and its bathing suit-clad residents appear time and again throughout the movie. Scenes are often set to emphasize the beach backdrop, whether the Coast is necessary to the scene's action of not, which shows that the landscape is meant to be on display. The emphasis on location is a familiar tool to nationalist Australian cinema. The environment almost takes on the role of a supporting actor, driving the action of the film and acting upon its characters. The deliberate focus on location also adheres to the common trope of pairing life in the city with crime and corruption. Innocence, according to Australian mythology, is reserved for nature in the outback. The fact that the bush is fully absent from the film, especially since there is such a focus on lawlessness and corruption, would not be lost on its local audience. The absence of the outback in the film also highlights the sleek modernity of the film. Whereas the bush is often innocent and slow-paced, the film takes on the swiftness of a number of action drama movies that Hollywood pumps out. In fact, despite the well-defined Australian setting, the film seems to be definitively Hollywood-inspired. The format is reminiscent of past films, like Dirty Deeds (2002), and lacks the refreshing story line influential Australian films tend to have (Hoskin, 2004). In addition, the lead, Barry Wirth, is played by an overseas actor, Sam Worthington. The foreign actor, perhaps unaware of the nuances of Australian culture, does not do a convincing job of portraying authentic Aussie symbols, such as mateship, discussed later in this essay (Hoskin, 2004). Taken together, these shortcomings seem to counterbalance in strongly emphasized Gold Coast setting and create a spacelessness to the film. The unoriginal story could have taken place anywhere, at any moment. The failure to more firmly set the location, both in context and through mythology, gives the film a more global, rather than local, feeling."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bevan, Tim, Fellner, Gudinski, Michael, & Noble, Kris (Producers) & Teplitzky, Johnathan (Director). (2003). Gettin' Square [Motion Picture]. Australia: Macquarie Nine Film and Television Investment Fund.
  • Campora, Matt (2014). Metaphor of Imprisonment [Powerpoint slide]. Retrieved from 17 February 2014 lecture notes.
  • Haltof, Marek (2004). Gallipoli, Mateship, and the Construction of Australian National Identity. Journal of Popular Film and Television.
  • Hoskin, Dave (2004). Looking for credit in the straight world: Gettin' Square. Metro Magazine 139, 14.
  • Rattigan, Neil (1991). Images of Australia. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press.

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