The castle review
By Jacinta Harders
The Castle, directed by Rob Sitch, is an Australian comedy, which delves into the lives of a stereotypical Australian family, the Kerrigans. The film touchs on issues close to home in a humourous way. The audience is introduced to the classic Aussie family, narrated in the viewpoint of the youngest of the Kerrigans, Dale.
The setting is a lower class Melbourne suburb, adjacent to an airport. The head of the Kerrigan household, Darryl Kerrigan (Michael Caton), is simple, but a man of incredible pride. He is a typical Aussie bloke who is adored by his family yet disregarded by society. Nonetheless, seemingly oblivious to reality, Darryl lives and rules in his own home, which he calls his castle. “A mans home is his castle” he states. Sal Kerrigan (Anne Tenney) is the classic Australian housewife, who is wholly devoted to her family, and especially her husband. Her cooking lacks sophistication of any form, yet is praised beyond any professional chef’s wildest dreams.
The Kerrigan children mirror all the somewhat deficient, uninspiring characteristics of their parents. The eldest, Wayne, is in jail, but is still accepted by his family. Steve is an inventive mechanic who truly makes his father proud. Tracey (Sophie Lee) is the only girl in the family, and as is made quite obvious, is the favourite. She is considered to be the most successful in the family, since she is the only one who has completed any form of tertiary education. Tracey is a certified hairdresser. This made her dad “mighty proud”. She was also the first to get married. Her husband, Con Petropoulous (Full Frontal’s Eric Bana), is a Greek, kickboxing accountant.
As the story unravels, the Kerrigans are faced with a major dilemma, in the form of a compulsory acquisition of their home. The land on which their house is built, is needed by the corporate giant Airlink to build the largest freight handling facility in Australia. And so the Kerrigans embark on an odyssey to save their “castle” from acquisition and consequent demolition.
This film was far from technically amazing. No special effects were notably employed, as wowing audiences with technical brilliance was not the intent of this movie. This lack of effects resulted in the film appearing to have been recorded in the eighties. The need for a crisp, effective image was ignored, and the result was a “Homey” film. Sound was fairly standard too. Technicalities aside, there were many other opportunities for The Castle to redeem itself. A very commendable aspect of the film was the cast’s superior performances. Despite all “cop-outs” on Australians, the character portrayals was very entertaining. The simple dialogue was easy to understand, and the plot was kept you in suspense and was original.
It is quite a disturbing thought to think that this is the way that the Australian film industry presents itself to the rest of the world. It is movies like The Castle that give the rest of the world the impression that Australians are pathetic, uneducated, classless yobbos. This impression was given of the Kerrigan family, but other characters proved to the world that the Kerrigan’s were “special”. This film does not do justice for the vast majority of city-dwelling Australians who do not even come close in resembling this typecast, but most country bumpkins would be able to relate to the issues of land rights and eccentricities.
The Castle comically exploits every element of the stereotypical Australian identity, and suceed due to its excessiveness. Australians generally accept this film in good humour, and most would find it quite entertaining. It certainly lacks any form of intellectual stimulation, though a lot of hearty laughs are brought on. But for those who may take this film seriously, and perceive Australians to be just as the characters in the film are, then I am truly ashamed to label myself an Australian.