1994 / Director. Geoffrey Wright.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I miss the way Melbourne used to be captured on film. During the 80s and 90s it was often presented in a very dank, dreary and industrial way. Too many films to mention but some included ROMPER STOMPER, MALCOLM, BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS and THE BIG STEAL. Back then the true characteristics of the city were captured brilliantly, which gave Melbourne cinematic landscape a unique quality, which was impossible to recreate elsewhere. Wet streets and blueish hues dominated the screen and a bold stamp was made in Australian cinema. One of the last films of this kind was Geoffrey Wright's METAL SKIN, which he made straight after his incredible ROMPER STOMPER. It tells the story of several working class teenagers living in the lower class outer suburbs of Melbourne, where opportunity and prosperity seems non-existant. Their nights are consumed with alcohol, cars and street racing and when all of their lives intertwine with each other they spiral into a mess of sex fuelled betrayals and violent retributions. It's a film that has always resonated with me over the years and every time I revisit it, I find it more powerful than before. Time has been kind to it and it feels as relevant now as it ever did then. Ben Mendelsohn is brilliant, as always, in what can be perceived as a departure from his previous roles. Aiden Young, Tara Morice and Nadine Garner are all exceptional and Geoffrey Wright proved himself at the time as a fearless new director on the scene. The cinematography is grim and beautiful all at once and the few action pieces throughout the film are brilliantly executed. They recall the no-holds-barred chase sequences of MAD MAX and foreshadowed a style that would later dominate Hollywood with the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series. This is one classic Australian film that is sadly slipping away into obscurity and I cannot recommend it highly enough. We don't shoot Melbourne landscapes like this any more, try as we might, and it marked the end of a particular style of local filmmaking.