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The City's Edge

The City's Edge (Ken Quinnell, 1983) aka The Running Man, Edge of the City; prod. Pom Oliver, Errol Sullivan for Eastcaps, wr. Robert Merritt, Ken Quinnell from novel by W. A. Harbinson, dp Louis Irvin, design Robert Dein, ed. Greg Ropert; Tom Lewis, Hugo Weaving, Katrina Foster, Mark Lee, Ralph Cotterill; love story set against decay of Bondi Beach: lovers' lives increasingly dominated by charismatic young Aborigine; Eastman colour, 35mm, 91 min.

In one evening I watched Hugo Weaving’s first two films, The City’s Edge (Ken Quinnell, 1983) and For Love Alone (Stephen Wallace, 1985). I knew almost nothing about The City’s Edge/Running Man, just enough to know that it wasn’t all that good, but I found it fascinating. I have another ‘oncer’ for my collection – a film whose director only made the one feature film. And I’ve learnt a bit about Bob Merritt, an Indigenous man who wrote most of the script and prolly all those egregious lines put into the mouth of Tommy Lewis (who isn’t a very good actor at the best of times, despite Chant). I noticed that Bryan Syron gets a credit for support. He is thought to be the first Aboriginal director of a feature film (for Jindalee Lady, 1992). In the general shape of the story, I was reminded of the much better known Backroads (Phillip Noyce, 1977) in which Gary Foley insisted that his character be killed. But the way Tommy Lewis's ‘commits suicide by police’ in this one is much more spectacular.

The film suffers from some embarrassingly hackneyed dialogue ... and is unremittingly sombre and one-key until it explodes into violence in the final reel. Stratton: 205.

Garry Gillard | New: 16 October, 2012 | Now: 1 March, 2020