In the tradition of “Teorema,” “Something for Everyone” and “The Servant,” Aussie indie “The Actress” has a stable household invaded by a stranger whose indiscriminate sexuality and questionable motivations wreak havoc. Entertaining no-budget black comedy is a bit bare-bones to travel beyond the fest circuit, but should lure programmers of youth-oriented and new-director slots.
A dreary Perth house shelters three twentysomethings united in passivity and social haplessness. Tom (Matt Hardie) is a date-shy supermarket employee; office drone Kevin’s (Steve McCall) love life is confined to his right hand. College student Claire’s (Jodie Passmore) friend storms out at pic’s start, necessitating recruitment of a new housemate. That night, Tom brings home newly met Emma (Caitlin Higgins), an actress visiting from Melbourne. Soon, she’s installed as his girlfriend and a semi-permanent flatmate. But Emma is as tight with rent money as she is loose elsewhere. A smirking seductress, she gets everyone under thumb, then delights in setting them against each other. At a drunken party, tensions explode, with near-fatal consequences. Droll tale is plainly mounted, but perfs, situations and Ash Gibson Grieg’s quirky original score hold attention.