Alternate Option
Thoughts from me.
Friday, May 06, 2005 11:30 am
Tom White movie
I watched an Australian movie called “Tom White” last night, which starred Colin Friels whom I like, and Rachel Blake, who was in Wild Side on ABC TV a while ago; along with several other Australian actors.

The movie revolves around an Australian white collar male—who looks like he was not coping well for whatever reason—who takes the plunge and dramatically changes his life. One days he leaves work and does not go home. Instead roaming and sleeping around the Melbourne streets. He meets characters along the way, and the movie documents random events that follow.

I honestly didn't get it.

Colin Friel's in the lead role gave a pretty good performance. The actors portraying his family (including Rachael Blake) did well with their limited screen time. Unfortunately the rest of the cast was pretty bland. When Tom White “steps out” of his world into the seamy side of Melbourne, there are the obligatory bar scenes, drug and party scenes, the obligatory gay young man, obligatory female, and the obligatory “man-who-has-been-there-before” among others. Poor acting, events and characters memorable only for incredibly cliched dialogue.

Tom White follows a handful of movies with similar theme: Falling Down with Michael Douglas, Fight Club, American Beauty. Unlike those movies, the characters and episodes documented here are disconnected, and nothing much eventuates. Which reminded me of a cheap man's Magnolia.

The movie uses too much shorthand to replace character development. For example Tom starts off as a middle class man, then metamorphoses into a homeless man (with a hair stylist).

The reason for this change is hinted to be few things: the word “despair” is tossed around, possibly work or family related. Or was he having a psychotic episode? Was he depressed? Or did he have Parkinsons Disease? The movie doesn't explain this. Instead it just shows Tom's hand tremor, his daughter complaining about his work, some lunch time drinking, lots of yelling, some of Tom's computer drawings, and leaves it at that. Maybe that was the movie maker's intention—to keep things open-ended and for viewers to decide for themselves. In which case it lost me.

Unfortunately the rest of the movie follows this model, such that the only things I remember are irritatingly bad dialog, unmemorable characters and events, and melancholy music.

3 out of 10.

[posted with ecto]

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