Red Billabong (Luke Sparke, 2016) wr. Luke Sparke; Dan Ewing, Tim Pocock, Jessica Green; thriller, creature feature; 113 min.
The cinematography in this is really good, and the film gets off to a great start in the exterior shots, but it's sooo long, and the genre(s) so elusive, that it's hard to sustain one's interest until the monster finally appears. Dan Ewing looks and acts right; Felix Williamson's part is too small - but then I'm a fan.
... we are well and truly over the halfway point before the horror begins. While we are waiting, Sparke’s team gives us a quality production to look at. Andrew Conder’s photography elevates the surrounds of the Queensland’s Gold Coast to epic levels, and the enthusiastic cast are infectiously watchable. The highly anticipated creature, one of Australia’s first all-CG creations in a feature role, is world-class. Achieved through a combination of computer imagery and practical effects, it’s a convincing threat that never spoils the long build-up. It’s just a shame some some of the little details, such as Pocock’s seemingly ever-changing hair colour, betray the blockbuster shopfront. Richard Gray, TheReelBits.
Dan Ewing and Tim Pocock are great as the leads, with Jessica Green shining as Rebecca, a character who is not afraid to dish out as much as she takes from the men in her life. Also notable is Gregory Fryer as Mr Garvey, the Aboriginal leader who is awaiting the outcome of the decision regarding the property. Thanks to the well-researched and informed script, Fryer is giving a standout moment during the climax to showcase Aboriginal defensive moves against the monster. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention also another fine actor in the cast – the role of the dog Max who shines in his scenes. Andrew Peirce, AB Film Review.
With so much in the mix – there’s guns, girls, and The Dreaming yet to be mentioned – Red Billabong starts off surprisingly slow. Perhaps too slow for those in the audience looking for a quick, one-hit-and-you’re-done monster massacre. But once Sparke lets the film off its leash, Red Billabong mutates into a special effects driven action movie that’s undeniably Australian. And whilst the credits hint at a potential sequel, it’s hard not to cross your fingers for the possibility of a spinoff with Mr. Garvey and his band of indigenous Ghostbusters. John Noonan, FilmInk.
Garry Gillard | New: 7 August, 2017 | Now: 7 August, 2017