Return Home

Return Home (Ray Argall, 1990) wr. Ray Argall; Dennis Coard, Frankie J. Holden, Ben Mendelsohn, Micki/Mickey Camilleri, Rachel Rains; see also Eight Ball; two brothers reunited; AFI Best Director

Just a good little suburban social-realistic movie. Nothing much happens, and it feels good. This was shot on location in Henley Beach, an Adelaide suburb, at a service station on the corner of Military Rd and Henley Beach Road. Google Maps in 2014 shows the servo to be still there, with a video store and cafe among the shops over the road. Ms Camilleri first name is variously spelt; I'm guessing she's related or married to Joe Camilleri, as he is heard on the soundtrack, as well as appearing in a gratuitous scene as a busker. Rachel Rains' (almost) only film ever.

... perfect little gem, which is completely unpretentious and consequently even more effective in its loving observation of these people and of the environment where they live. Coard (relatively new to acting after spending fifteen years of his life working for Telecom) is a great discovery: his sympathetic Everyman speaks wonders with just a look or a half-smile. Though undoubtedly too 'minimal' for many tates, this tale of brotherly love and the return of a stranger to his past is a wholly satisfying experience, and we await Argall's work in the 90s with eager anticipation. David Stratton: 122.

Return Home is simply but effectively shot (Argall cuts and tracks only when he needs to), with a subtle and affecting screenplay, and an understated level of performance rare in Australian film. That is not to say it is perfect - the otherwise carefully judged pace falters momentarily past the middle, some scenes drift a fraction too much and there is the odd gratuitous moment (as with Joe Camilleri's busker) - but the flaws don't detract overly. Return Home is a significant achievement. Scott Murray, 1995: 302.

Return Home is one of the most unpretentious films you are ever likely to see and yet it is extremely effective in observing the day to day struggle of a working class family. The film perfectly captures a summer in suburbia, the tree lined streets, the fair, the beach and the pier, and the enjoyment and security these cultural icons bring, all so close to becoming a paradise lost. ... The video transfer for Return Home is a little disappointing overall. ... The transfer is not particularly sharp, although it is clear. Many scenes displayed a certain softness that I found a little annoying at times. The fact that the film was shot on 16mm film and then blown up to 35mm later I don't believe contributes to the problem. MichaelDVD.

Notes and Links

Trailer in youtube

Dr George Miller mentions and quotes this film in his section on "Urban subversion" in the compilation film White Fellas Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema.


Garry Gillard | New: 19 November, 2012 | Now: 12 June, 2017