On the surface a documentary about three Melbourne parking inspectors (the enigmatic title is an acronym for Parking Infringement Notification System), “P.I.N.S.” evolves into a surprisingly intimate look at the lives of average Australians. By turns painful and humorous, and often looking more like a dramatic feature than a docu, pic is an original that could attract fest attention for its unusual approach to everyday people and events.
At the start, Garth Davis seems to be setting up a fly-on-the-wall docu in which we see parking inspectors at work, facing to outraged drivers who have been given hefty fines for infringements. But gradually, the film shifts gears to study three of the officers — one, the paunchy Warrick, in far more detail than the other two.
Paul is a vain, good-looking muscle freak who can’t fathom why his attractive g.f. has dumped him and who spends much of his working day pleading with her on his cell phone. Rob is an earthy type who often seems willing to pick a fight with aggrieved motorists and who allows no mercy.
Warrick is something of a humanist, a more lenient young man. He’d like to make a mark in the world, like JFK; once a marathon swimmer, he’s now an overweight wrestling freak engaged to the sweet, equally chubby Raelene. Though he has some doubts about marriage (an odd fantasy insert depicts him sinking to the bottom of the sea attached to a piece of cement, which reps his fear of wedlock), he goes through with it, and the wedding is shown in all its most intimate and amusing detail. But, three months later, Raelene leaves him and is last seen excitingly watching a male stripper perform.
Davis and his co-d.p., Greig Fraser, were given amazing access to the couple. Typical of the approach is a scene in which Warrick, on his birthday and soon after their marriage, pleads with Raelene for sex but is refused. Result is a highly professional and polished docu, that offers insights into the most mundane everyday events.