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Black Rock Review

1073 words - 4 pages

Based on the stage play by Nick Enright (Lorenzo's Oil, etc), this provocative and topical film is gut wrenching stuff examining the devastating impact a brutal rape and shocking murder has on a small NSW coastal community. However, it also has a more personal and topical concern that centres on the tense and mutually antagonistic relationship between 17 year old Jared (Laurence Breuls, in his first feature film) and his mother Diane (played by Linda Cropper, a veteran of stage, tv and film). Jared is a typical adolescent, uncertain of what he wants from life and who desperately needs some guidance through the confusion and choices ahead, and he blames Diane's shrewish and demanding attitude for driving away his father. Diane is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she has breast cancer, and is unable to discuss her fears and apprehensions with Jared. The incendiary emotional gulf and lack of communication between the pair explodes after a local girl is raped and murdered during a party. Jared is the only witness to the brutal rape, and is torn by his inability to intervene and his later indecision over what to do. To her horror, Diane also comes to suspect that Jared was somehow involved, which puts further strain on their already tense relationship.The film has been directed by Stephen Vidler, a former actor with extensive film and tv experience, who doesn't shy away from the controversial and hard hitting nature of the material.The film showcases the powerful, harrowing and emotionally draining performance from newcomer Breuls, who is virtually on screen for most of the film and whose character shoulders much of the film's dramatic moments and confrontations. This was the first film role for Bruels, whose only previous experience involved an anti-alcohol commercial and stints on Home And Away and Spellbinder. The youngster says that his interest in acting probably stemmed from the fact that his own mother was an actress, although he had no real ambition or any idea of what he wanted to do when he left school. He readily agrees that he shares some similar experiences with Jared and could relate to the character's emotions and confusion, common experiences that inform his assured and complex performance.Bruels (jarred) went on a holiday to India to help prepare him emotionally for the character.Also appearing in the film as local surfing legend and Jared's best friend Ricko is Simon Lyndon, who originally played the role of Jared in the Sydney theatre production. Breuls says that he wanted to draw Lyndon out a little about his experiences of the role. However, Lyndon recognised that it was something that Breuls had to experience for himself, and kept quiet, a decision that Breuls now recognises was probably the right one. "That's what makes the film, you know," he acknowledges, "the actor going through the experience." Diane is more rooted in the working class, which was unusual and challenging material for Cropper, because it was not...

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