TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN, 2010
Starring: Caitlin Stasey, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lincoln Lewis and Deniz Akdeniz
A group of kids in their late teens go out into the bush to camp overnight, when they return to their homes they find their country town deserted. Over time they discover that Australia has been invaded and that their sleepy town is now occupied. REVIEW:
As Australian films go this one ranks somewhere just above average, maybe a hair-width above the average. It’s entertaining enough, for one viewing, but I don’t know about its longevity.‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ is based on the novel of the same name by John Marsden which details the story of seven teenagers who live in a small country town. Each of them are coming of age in a town that they find dull and boring. They agree to go on a camping trip out in the bush. The teenagers camp in a place called Hell, cut off from all civilised contact.
When they return to their home town they discover their family homes have been abandoned as has the town. Eventually the teens hear over the radio that Australia has been invaded by a foreign power and their town is now occupied by the foreign army.
And straight away you can probably tell one of the major draw backs with this film is its subconscious xenophobia. Which it tries to make up with the ‘multicultural’ main cast, unfortunately even their two ethnic characters; a Greek boy and a Vietnamese guy, are both just two-dimensional stereotypes. Although this is true for all the other characters as well. The film plays on Australia’s paranoia of being invaded by Asian countries, although this is never expressly pointed out in the film it is implied and the people playing the foreign soldiers, although their faces are kept half in shadow most of the time, are obviously of Asian descent.
Another problem with this film, as with a great deal of Australian cinema, is the jarring performances given by the actors. Every other line had me wincing and the ones that didn’t make me wince just made me shake my head in disbelief. I don’t know that I believed much of anything that the actors said or emoted.
Having said these negative things I must admit the films plot is quite exciting and adventurous. Once the plot gets going and stops being interrupted by the characters exposition of their teen angsty type problems, it does get to become a non-stop action film that keeps you interested.
The dialogue is pretty good as is the story it’s just a bit of a shame that it had to be hammed up by the acting. If you were watching the movie without knowing the story beforehand it would probably be pretty enthralling and keep you guessing.
Unfortunately in Australia ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ is required reading for most students in year 9 or 10 and so there was nothing to really keep Australian audiences hooked.
If you can look past its flaws this really is an entertaining film, I don’t think that it really means to be xenophobic, but then I don’t know many films that do actually try to be xenophobic. Apart from maybe the Nazi war film ‘The Wandering Jew.’
I’d recommend this film for people who don’t particularly have much to do one day and want a film that they can both enjoy and make fun of all at the same time.
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