SPIN OUT. Australia, 2016. Starring Xavier Samuel, Morgan Griffin, Travis Jeffery, Melissa Bergland. Directed by Mark Gracie, Tim Ferguson. 91 minutes. Rated M ( Sexual references, coarse language and nudity,)
Vroom, spin, vroom vroom, more spin – if that sounds attractive, then perhaps this is your film. If it doesn’t, probably better to give it a miss.
This is an Australian film, with financing from Screen Australia as well as from Film Victoria, it is set at Emerald Bank and around Shepparton – although, surprisingly, especially with the funding from Film Victoria, characters declaring that they want to leave the country, intending to go to Sydney rather than Melbourne!
This is very much film with blokes and sheilas, showing a great deal of (alleged) Australian blokeyness amongst mates and a picture of sheilas who tend to follow the blokes around although, in this day and age, they are certainly prepared to defy the blokes.
The occasion is a car and ute rally at Emerald Bank, an annual event, with everybody from around the place turning up, yelling their support of their favourite drivers, having a dance and party in the evening, plenty of booze (actually only beer and rum), raucous (to put it mildly), lots of talk about rooting, a cracker tossed into a dunny and spatially exploding, a competition to break the record of how many cans of beer can be drunk, and a mud fight leading to an all in mud brawl.
A bloke called Sparrow does the initial voice-over as he stands on the back of the ute, driven by his friend, Bill, who is one of the stars of the Ute rally, in competition with Lucy and the mean driver herself, who had saved Bill from drowning when they were young and they have been bickering ever since, rivals in the arena, with Bill showing off, fixing the wheel to the door handle and putting a brick under the brake and even getting out of the vehicle and performing. However, it is Mary, who could (compliment) pass for a relation of Magda Szubanski, who is the key driver, wins the rally – but is oblivious, low self-image and seemingly humourless, to Sparrow who is smitten with her, awkwardly courting her.
There are a brother and sister, dressed up to look more sophisticated, from the city, who have their eye out for a sexual liaison and, of course, land on Bill and Lucy. While the beer is being guzzled and tots of rum downed at a great rate, Bill and Lucy go through their own rivalries, insinuations against each other, finally leading to that mud fight, Lucy wanting to leave and go to Sydney, Bill not wanting to. In the morning, with couples littered unconscious around the grounds, including two mates who dress up in frocks but are in denial, Bill eventually comes to his senses…
Bill keeps telling Lucy “it doesn’t get any better than this”. While he means life around Shepparton, we realise that this could describe the plot of the film and that it has set its bar pretty low.
Xavier Samuel and Morgan Griffin bring their talent to somewhat thankless roles, but do show that there could be a little soul-searching and an admission of true love if they put their minds and hearts into it.
Released September 15th
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.