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Three Dollars (2005)

  Directed by: Robert Connolly
Written by: Robert Connolly, Elliot Perlman
Starring: Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, Robert Menzies, Frances O'Connor, David Wenham, Sarah Wynter
Links: Three Dollars on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2005 (nominee)

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Fantastically real" - a review by pearly

Eddie (David Wenham) is approaching middle age, and is about to undergo something of a mid-life crisis, a series of events which are basically forced onto him through circumstance. He's living with his wife Tanya (Frances O'Connor), and their beautiful young daughter Abby (Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik), and though they've struggled a bit to make ends meet over the years, it's nothing compared to what they're about to go through, after Eddie loses his job.

Based on the novel of the same name written (and adapted for the screen) by Elliot Perlman, Three Dollars tells this tale of the trials of a man who finds himself with only three dollars to his name. It is a story that is likely to appeal more to those that have been in a similar situation, though it is universal enough to be understood and appreciated by most anyone.

I enjoyed this film greatly, more so than I did director Robert Connolly's last one, The Bank (2001), which, though it seemed like totally my kind of thing on paper, slightly missed the mark, in my opinion. Three Dollars is more of an everyman story, and it is told humbly and effectively.

Of course, one of the major reasons to love this film is the always superb Wenham. After acting in a couple of Hollywood films (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), and then more recently Van Helsing (2004)), he's back in Australia and playing a role that's a bit more down-to-earth, and most probably very similar to his own life experience (though I doubt that Wenham's quite that poor, but you see what I mean). There's nothing for him to do in this film that's as impressive as his work in films like Gettin' Square (2003), but sometimes it's the less showy films which give an actor the real chance to shine.

The rest of Eddie's family are also a joy to watch, with O'Connor playing his slightly neurotic wife in an understated and natural way, and Prokhovnik-Hunt managing to steal many of the scenes that she's in with her gorgeous but not too sickeningly sweet portrayal of their young daughter who is stuck in the middle of things she cannot control.

The major supporting roles were a bit more of a mixed bag. Sarah Wynter did nothing for me as Eddie's ex-lover, and the woman with whom Eddie strangely meets up every nine years. Compared with those around her, I felt that her performance was a little too over-the-top and less natural. She stood out a little too much. Robert Menzies, on the other hand, who played a homeless man that Eddie becomes friends with, was wonderful. He's the kind of actor that you've probably seen in many different things, but is always playing a slightly smaller role, so you recognise his face, but aren't too sure who he is. The sections of the film relating to his character reminded me of Tom White (2004) a fair bit.

Last, and certainly not least, it is worth seeing the film just for the flashback scene in which Eddie dances to Joy Division. It's completely classic. Three Dollars is just a nice film to watch. It's a story about real life, and there's bound to be character within the pack that you can relate to. The film is not perfect - some of the plot points were a little forced, which was a shame - but if you take it at face value, you should find something within that's worth taking away.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 22 Apr 2005

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Reader comments

  1. Nice overview of this film, pearly. I agree with you on all of your remarks, even though I dropped a point for some other issues I had with it.

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from Rod Williams ( on Wed 25 May 2005 14:48 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 7.00 (1 rating)

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