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Ruben Guthrie

Ruben Guthrie (Brendan Cowell, 2015) Patrick Brammall, Alex Dimitriades, Abbey Lee; drama

This is a serious film about alcoholism - which I watched while enjoying a couple of drinks.

My only negative criticism of this film is that I wish the main character had been played by Brendan Cowell. I personally think he's a special actor, and would have done a better job with the part than the guy he cast - who's OK, but ordinary. Cowell is a particularly sensitive actor (as in Beneath Hill 60, and I Love You Too, for example.)

Alex Dimitriades gives a very impressive, speed-y performance.

Life is good for ad man Ruben Guthrie - he leads a party boy lifestyle, has a model fiancée and lives in a house on the water. He's at the top of his game, until some drunken skylarking lands Ruben at the bottom of his infinity pool, lucky to be alive. His mum hits the panic button, and then his fiancée leaves him, but not before issuing him one final challenge: If Ruben can do one year without a drink, she'll give him another chance. Ruben Guthrie is the story of one man not only battling the bottle, but the city that won't let him put it down. Madman.

With its alcohol saturated opening scene and a shriek of 'Let's get smashed', Brendan Cowell's debut feature begins, amid bottles galore, glasses, bikini-clad girls, laughter and rambunctious excess. Based on Cowell's stage play, the film is as high spirited as the subject matter, delving into the social pressures surrounding the drinking culture and its effects on life, love and family. Grounded by an Australian sensibility, there's an appealing energy about the film that taps into home truths with humour and satire. The fact that leading man Patrick Brammall physically resembles Cowell is a curious bonus, and Brammall is terrific as the out of control advertising executive who loses everything before embarking on a journey of discovery to reclaim his life. Louise Keller, urbancinefile

An entertaining coming-of-age dramedy about a man-boy pushing 40, “Ruben Guthrie” centers on a boozy Sydney advertising hotshot who swears to stay off the sauce for a year to win back his fed-up fiancee. Adapting his highly successful stage play, writer-helmer Brendan Cowell neatly balances comic elements with sharp observations of how friendships between Aussie males are frequently underwritten by excessive alcohol consumption. Though the film isn’t as surefooted with female characters, its consistent good humor, non-preachy tone and strong cast of popular local thesps marks it as a solid crowdpleaser. Following its world premiere on opening night of the Sydney Film Festival, “Ruben” should perform strongly on July 16 domestic release. Though offshore theatrical prospects appear iffy, the pic could easily be tweaked for remakes. Richard Kuipers, Variety.

Filmmakers have long wrestled with how to make getting loaded as interesting for the spectator as for the participant. Generally speaking, there’s nothing more enervating than endless montages of people getting doped or drunk to the gills. ... There’s plenty of bacchanalian behavior, but Ruben’s mostly a spectator to it. It’s a neat jumping-off point for an exploration of liquor as an enabler of intimacy between heterosexual men...Ruben Guthrie at least gestures toward a more gimlet-eyed take on the debauched behavior of its protagonists. But the titular character is such a solipsistic misogynist that a couple of hours spent in his company is about as easy to stomach as the gallons of liquor Ruben’s pals push toward him pretty much relentlessly. Harry Windsor, Hollywood Reporter.

Garry Gillard | New: 28 March, 2018 | Now: 28 June, 2020