Emily Barclay (Glitch)
Steve Bastoni (Man-Thing)
Laurence Breuls (Ghost Rider)
Michael Dorman (Triangle)
Anthoyn Hayes (Animal Kingdom)
Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland)
This film, directed by Paul Goldman (“Australian Rules”, “The Night We Called it a Day”), is not so much Pulp Fiction Australian style as pulp faction; first-time scriptwriter Alice Bell has cobbled together a story inspired by the real-life murder of her father committed by 19 year old Belinda van Krevel in suburban Wollongong. Katrina, is indeed an elemental force, unrestrained by social conventions and morality. She has a hopeless passion for her brother Daniel (Laurence Breuls) who is locked up early in the movie for taking the head off a convenience store clerk with a samurai sword during an ineptly executed robbery. Katrina is determined to get him out, and the need to get money for Danny’s appeal drives her to organizing her blameless father’s murder. In the meantime she drives furiously, has sex with practically every young tradesman in the district and neglects her baby, fortunately largely cared for by her loyal boyfriend Rusty (Michael Dorman), who likes to think of himself as the father.
Whatever production defects this movie may have, it passed the watch test. It really is hard to take your eyes off Emma Barclay as Katrina. Kat is vulgar, rude, lewd, and driven largely by emotion, yet she radiates sexuality. She knows what men want; hence the long string of “admirers”. Interestingly she tends to adopt the superior position during sexual congress, no doubt to stay in control, for she is a controlling sort of person.
Her environment is standard suburban wasteland (well-off blue collar boring) but it is not obvious why she and her brother have turned out to be such poisonous personalities. Mum, it seems, was a drug addict banished years ago from the family home, but Dad (Robert Morgan) is a decent caring person, a builder by trade and maybe not very perceptive. Perhaps Dad was too indulgent and a firmer line with the kids might have avoided disaster, though his girlfriend “Auntie” Dianne (Genevieve Lemon) puts it all down to genes – Grandma and mother both having been mad.
There is an obvious parallel with “The Boys” of a few years ago, which was no comedy but did explain how a truly monstrous crime originated. This is a lighter piece though what Katrina brings about is still pretty nasty. Justice is not done either, which is disturbing.
Even so, whatever is driving Katrina, Emily Barclay makes her totally believable. The rest of the cast are rather overshadowed, but Steve Bastoni is effective as an intimidated policeman and Michael Dorman convincing as Rusty, a moth to Katrina’s candle, or rather blowtorch. We know via the mockumentary sections what is coming up, but we still get a surprise. Katrina does rather better than her real-life counterpart, but someone like her is not likely to enjoy a quiet life, or a very long one either.