Subdivision


Directed by: Sue Brooks
Written by:Ashley Bradnam, Janice Bradnam, Terry McCann
Starring: Ashley Bradnam, Gary Sweet, Bruce Spence, Brooke Satchwell, James Stewart, Denis Roberts, Kathryn Beck, Kris McQuade
Released: August 20, 2009
Grade: B+

At the recent Brisbane International Film Festival, one film on the tips of everyone’s lips was Subdivision.   The making of it was a Cinderella story it itself.  Eight years ago, radio host Ashley Bradnam teamed up with his mother and started working on a screenplay.  This film is the end result – shot on a shoe-string budget with the best intentions.

It’s the story of a builder named Jack Kelly (Bradnam) who works for his experienced father, Digger (Sweet).  They’ve been at it for years, building quality homes in Hervey Bay.  A rift has developed between the pair however and Jack is looking to start his own company.  He wants to compete for a lucrative development contract which is on the horizon.

That’s the main storyline but there are a few subplots to spice things up.  Jack has fallen for Tiffany (Satchwell), a Victorian who has moved to Queensland and works a major developer.  Jack’s sister (Beck) is pregnant but she’s not quite sure who the father is.  There are two alternatives and one of them is Jack’s best mate.  What will happen if he finds out that he’s not the dad?

A few of the characters are undeveloped and I use Brooke Satchwell as a good example.  Subdivision is the first feature film for this ex-Neighbours star and despite featuring prominently on the film’s poster, it’s not a big role.  I’d have liked to have seen more of Satchwell and a few of the other cast members for that matter.  Did we really need all the football scenes?

That said, I’m not sticking the boot in because this is a solid effort and is best described as a “fair dinkum” Aussie movie.  It’s nice to see a film shot in Queensland, particular one that provides a few laughs.  It’s a feel good flick which will appease our local audience.

The film’s best attribute is its exploration of the relationship between Jack and his father.  I think the writers have done well to flesh out both characters and I enjoyed the interaction between Gary Sweet and Ashley Bradnam.  I particularly liked the ending and the way in which the community bands together.  It may not be the most realistic of endings but it’s still enjoyable.

This is the first film for director Sue Brooks since she won the Australian Film Institute Award for best director in 2003 for Japanese Story (a wonderful film).  This isn’t quite on the same level in terms of quality but based on her words at the Brisbane premiere, you could tell she had a lot of fun making it.  Hopefully that rubs off on the Australian public.