Newest Reviews
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Newest Articles
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
  Bliss Reality BitesBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Ray Lawrence
Stars: Barry Otto, Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Gia Carides, Miles Buchanan, Jeff Truman, Tim Robertson, Bryan Marshall, Jon Ewing, Kerry Walker, Paul Chubb
Genre: Comedy, Weirdo
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Harry Joy (Barry Otto) lived a mundane life out in the Australian suburbs, working as an advertising executive, married with a couple of teenage kids, and he loved to tell stories, just as his father used to tell him stories. However, one day on his birthday, he was at a small party in his house with his family and a couple of friends when he ventured out into the garden only to keel over from a heart attack. He was dead for four minutes until the medics revived him, but after that he was never very sure if he was actually in the afterlife or not...

And if he was in the afterlife, was he in heaven or was he in hell? Ray Lawrence, never the most prolific of filmmakers, made this adaptation of Peter Carey's novel to some acclaim in Australia, but seen from this remove it's tempting to consider it overrated. It was apparently designed for middle aged men entering their mid-life crises, so Harry, who is indeed one of those men, tries to make sense of the world around him and realises that everything he thought he knew may not exactly be true. For example, his wife Bettina (Lynette Curran) is having an affair with his friend, something illustrated by having the two of them have sex in full view of oblivious restaurant patrons.

Yes, we were in surrealist territory, and that meant several bizarre scenes and images that in movie form did not quite fit in with the rather routine drama they were being married to. The trouble was that for all its bells and whistles of weirdness, there was an unexceptional story at the centre of this, and while Harry was sympathetic enough, he did not particularly merit the attention a two hour movie would have awarded him if it had not been for the odd paths and incidents that were bolted onto his experiences. Therefore you can be diverted by such scenes as his son demanding a blow job from his sister in return for cocaine, but not much of it had any resonance.

You never felt as if you were watching someone's authentic worldview, as it came across as too much of a writer's construct - and that was another issue in that you got the impression that this would probably have been wise and witty on the page, yet simply did not translate to the cinema (that might not have been your opinion if you'd read the novel, however). After his heart attack, Harry is set on his course to self-fulfilment, and that will not involve his family, who are all revealed pretty swiftly to be a corrupt lot, but couple that to his disillusionment with his job in advertising, and you have a man unsure of where to go next, after all his whole meaning in life revolved around those things.

This spends far too long in offering Harry his light at the end of the tunnel, and as a consequence you may find it dragging from one blackly comic vignette to another, so whether you actually laugh at this is another question. On the other hand, Lawrence did come up with some genuinely striking images, and you can tell his feeling for Harry's predicament is sincere as he moves from everyday existence to getting back to nature and trying to woo the prostitute, Honey Barbara (Helen Jones), who he senses can bring about his redemption. Will she be won over, or will such incidents as Harry having his car sat upon by an elephant and being arrested by the police for the state of his vehicle, or more awkward, being admitted to a mental hospital, put a spanner in the works of his improvement? The answer arrives by and by, but sustaining the interest may be too much for the average viewer. Music by Peter Best.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2230 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: