Blacktown

Thanks to a charismatic central performance by Tony Ryan, Oz working-class fairy tale "Blacktown" turns into a real heartwarmer that overcomes budget constraints and technical carelessness. DV no-budgeter faces obvious obstacles to local distribution, but its nabbing of the Best Sidebar Film award at the Sydney fest suggests some specialist B.O. potential.

With:
With: Tony Ryan, Niki Owen, Kriv Stenders.

Thanks to a charismatic central performance by non-pro Tony Ryan, Oz working-class fairy tale “Blacktown” turns into a real heartwarmer that overcomes budget constraints and technical carelessness. Pic is indie helmer Kriv Stenders’ second offering this year, following his more pro but less enjoyable “The Illustrated Family Doctor,” which opened in March. DV no-budgeter faces obvious obstacles to local distribution, but its nabbing of the Best Sidebar Film award at the Sydney fest suggests some specialist B.O. potential. Offshore video festivals should investigate.

Tony (Ryan), a recovering alcoholic living in the eponymous Sydney suburb, becomes a white knight for thirtysomething Nikki (Niki Owen) when her date goes violently awry. Echoing John Cassavetes’ 1971 pic “Minnie and Moskowitz,” true love blooms, with Tony’s honesty helping to clear the debris of Nikki’s forlorn life. Improvised from a script outline based on lead thesp’s real life, pic runs on — without running out of — charm, mainly provided by Ryan’s perf. Helming is awkward, with no pretense at professional cutting, and lensing and audio glitches never quash pic’s joyous vibe.

Blacktown

Australia

Production: A Pod Film, Horrorshow presentation of a Pod Film production. (International sales: Pod, Sydney.) Produced by Kriv Stenders. Executive producer, Catherine Kerr. Directed, written by Kriv Stenders.

Crew: Camera (color, DigiBeta), Stenders, Lisa Stonham; editor, Gabriellea Muir. Reviewed at Sydney Film Festival (Indie Screen), June 17, 2005. (Also in Melbourne Film Festival.) Running time: 91 MIN.

With: With: Tony Ryan, Niki Owen, Kriv Stenders.

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