Welcome to Woop Woop

Welcome to Woop Woop (Stephan Elliott, 1997) aka The Big Red; wr. Douglas Kennedy (novel, The Dead Heart) & Michael Thomas; Rod Taylor, Johnathon Schaech, Susie Porter, Dee Smart, Richard Moir, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Barry Humphries, Mark Wilson, Paul Mercurio

This pretty-much took Elliott's career down the toilet, but I love it: a unique vision of Australia. (See the documentary, Killing Priscilla [Lizzy Gardiner, 1999] for where the director was up to at this time.)

He had the support of his financial backers to make this because of the huge success of Priscilla. So we could think of this as being as-good-as-it's-ever-going-to-get in his oeuvre. But it's so OTT that it could not find an audience. It's hard to classify.

There is hardly any empathy possible with any character; it's vulgar (I mean obscene but wouldn't want it to be banned). It's echt Stephan Elliott.

I suggest that it's not surrealist, just hyperbolic. But, as I've already said, it defies classification.

No wonder nobody seemed to know what to make of it: Elliott’s film is balls-to-the-wall campy, existing on a self-conscious wavelength that allows the director to sweep us up in song and dance while maintaining a critical distance from the folklore version of Australia it depicts and dismantles. Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian.


Garry Gillard | New: 24 November, 2012 | Now: 26 July, 2018