13 January 2010
Ever wondered who'd win in a jelly fight between two of Australia's finest songstresses -- and Missy Higgins?
I wish the answer could be found in Bran Nue Dae, but no, it's their acting, and singing, which is on show.
The story goes like this -- in the summer of '69 a young Aboriginal kid, Willie (Rocky McKenzie) is living in Broome -- hanging out, fishing, and trying to impress his girl, Rosie (Jessica Mauboy). Then, his mother sends him back to a religious mission in Perth to become a priest. At seminary school, it's the threat of a vicious caning from the head pastor, Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush) that sees Willie runaway and make the long journey home.
Cue on-the-road mis-adventures with as Willie's drunken long, lost uncle. as a space cadet hippie and the fearsome Father Benedictus hell bent on Willie's tail.
But what you really want to know is -- can Jess Mauboy act? (Yes). Can Missy Higgins? (Maybe). And who is this Dan Sultan guy? (He's a bad boy rock n' roller who plays a bad boy rock n' roller and does it well).
VIDEO -- Watch our interview with Jessica Mauboy and the cast of Bran Nue Dae!
The cast is a real mix of innocence and experience and the film sometimes has a school play feel to it. What's funny is it's the inexperienced players -- Mauboy, Sultan and McKenzie, all making their cinema debut, that shine, playing their roles in a naturalistic way.
It's the older, more qualified members of the cast -- people like Rush, Magda Szubanski and Deborah Mailman that insist on bringing varying degrees of ham off the bone.
But, let's not forget Bran Nue Dae is a musical. And, it's the music that provides the joy of the film. Mauboy re-energises the old country classic, "Stand By Your Man", while the show stopper is all singing, all tap dancing anthem, "There Is Nothing I Would Rather Be Than To Be An Aborigine" with its killer follow up line, "and watch you take my precious land away."
Part-musical, part-road trip, part-school play, part-funny, part-cringey. It's all there in Bran Nue Dae.
Bran Nue Dae hits cinemas on Thursday January 14. Click here for more info.