2009 / Director. Dagen Merrill.
Geeze, I have no idea what to make of Broken Hill. I've just watched it and I'm a bit dumfounded. It's an American film, pretending to be Australian. Most of the cast are Aussie, except for Alexa Vega and Timothy Hutton. The strangest thing is that Hutton is playing an Aussie farmer & footy coach. Listening to him bang on with an Aussie accent was a real mind-bender and while he actually nails most of it, it's the mispronunciations that completely undo his performance... a noble attempt, though. The movie takes place in a remote country town where mining and a prison keep the local economy alive. Luke Arnold plays the famers son who dreams of music. He conducts imaginary orchestras while herding sheep and pines for a bigger life. He meets an American girl and the two get into trouble with the cops and are sentenced to community service... and so they spend their time at the local prison teaching the prisoners to play music. This is his opportunity to impress the big wigs from a city music school when the prison band is selected to play in Broken Hill. Blah Blah Blah... this is such a cliched and derivitive movie. The formula is tiresome and it's only saving grace is the unique Australian outback setting. Its shot well and looks great and some of the musical arrangements are decent enough. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it but perhaps if I were a 13 year old girl I would have loved it. The blending of Aussie and American in such an inland outback setting is kind of stupid and it might have been a solid movie were all the characters local. A few other familiar faces pop up including Andy McPhee, George Kapiniaris and Hung Le and that does add a bit of interest to the movie. I will also give the final scene some credit for not taking the most obvious cliche moment that I was predicting. It does end on a nice note. A mediocre musical drama, not much to love... not much to hate. "She'll be right, mate!". lol
Curiously this film was made in 2009 and released in the US in 2010...... but only found its release in Australia this week.