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Oyster Farmer (2004)

  Directed by: Anna Reeves
Written by: Anna Reeves
Starring: Kerry Armstrong, David Field, Diana Glenn, Jim Norton, Alex O'Lachlan
Links: Oyster Farmer on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Drama
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2005 (nominee)

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

"A real Australian voice" - a review by pearly

Oyster Farmer drifts along at about the same pace as the Hawkesbury River, the beautiful and isolated location around which it is based. It tells the story of a community of generations-old oyster farmers, whose lives are spent in a simple, hard-working, and predictable way. There's oysters to be farmed, then a nice coupla beers, off to bed, and then up again at the crack of dawn to do it all over again.

When a new guy, Jack (Alex O'Lachlan), shows up in the region, he generates a little hive of activity around him. He begins working for Brownie (David Field), who has recently split from his wife Trish (Kerry Armstrong), and is trying to prove that, being the man, he is better suited to the task of farming the oysters. Brownie's know-it-all father Mumbles (Jim Norton) acts as a kind of mentor to Jack.

I found Oyster Farmer to be a very down-to-earth story, a sort of back-to-basics approach which told a truly Australian story. It was pretty refreshing, actually. In a way, the fuss caused by Jack's actions took away from this, but the way that it all turned back around towards the end, leaving the characters suitably settled, really sat well with me. It fit with the kinds of stories that I would expect to come out of a place like that, even if it was a little more out of the ordinary than most things that would happen in reality.

The cast of Oyster Farmer were all pretty great, too. Their performances were all understated, which lent a real air of authenticity to the tale, and the Australian edge to the whole thing worked beautifully. Armstrong, in particular, was superb.

As for the other areas of creativity, besides the scenery, which was amazing, and basically another character in the story, the music was quite prominent, probably a little too much so. Whilst I enjoyed it in small doses, it did get a little much for me after a while.

Oyster Farmer was not without its faults, but it certainly did a lot better job at being an Australian film than anything I can remember for some years. It's not an Australia that I am particularly familiar with, being born and bred a city girl, but nonetheless, I could relate, and I enjoyed my time spent in that world.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 23 Sep 2005

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