Aimed at older filmgoers, “Dalkeith,” a modest comedy about a group of borrowed-timers whose dull lives are suddenly brightened, has been something of a phenom Down Under, where it has played, without fanfare, for more than six months in one suburban Melbourne cinema. There seems no reason why similar success shouldn’t be repeated in other Australian cities in the coming months, and critic-proof pic should have a lively career in ancillary.
Tapping into the over-60 audience long abandoned by the commercial cinema, simple story deals with a bunch of geriatrics enduring a boring existence in Dalkeith, a retirement home, when their lives are galvanized by the arrival of a racing greyhound acquired by one of the staff members. Soon, the oldsters are betting on the hound (which always wins) and even venturing out to the track. Home’s miserly owners object, and pic culminates in a court case with, natch, a happy ending. Some veteran actors, including Ray Barrett and Gus Mercurio, enter into the spirit of the thing with gusto; Esme Melville, playing a retired actress, steals her scenes. Production values are minimal, direction is on a TV soap level.