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Small Claims (2004)

  Directed by: Cherie Nowlan
Written by: Kaye Bendle, Keith Thompson
Starring: Rebecca Gibney, Claudia Karvan, Robert Mammone, Freya Stafford
Links: Small Claims on the IMDb
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 4.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Oh, puhleeeease!" - a review by pearly

An Australian film which has the central theme of crime has to be pretty well made to appear realistic, as far as I'm concerned. Firstly, aside from the recent Victorian gangland killings, Australia isn't exactly the least safe place to be: we'll leave that title for the Americans, which is why I can believe violent crime stories coming from them. Secondly, I find it very hard to take Australian actors seriously as evil criminal masterminds, when I saw them playing Toadie's long-lost cousin on Neighbours (or similar) a coupla years back.

In Small Claims, we have Chrissy (Rebecca Gibney), the mature mother who hasn't known a day of trouble with the law in her life, Jo (Claudia Karvan), a cop who has split from her cop husband and is fighting to keep her job, and Melinda (Freya Stafford), the one who's in some kind of trouble, but isn't saying what. And where do these ladies meet up? At the local childcare centre, where they all take their children and gossip over the delicious snacks that Chrissy has made.

But life can't be that simple in the movies. No, not when you're making a low budget telemovie for Channel 10! There's gotta be more to it than that. And, there is. There's crooked cops, gunfights, backstories involving murdered friends, drugs, scary looking husbands, and many more hilariously ridiculous and unbelievable happenings. Sorry Kaye Bendle and Keith Thompson, but I'm not buying it! It's just too much! Why do you insist that every telemovie has to be this action-packed?

I don't expect a 10 outta 10 movie from a Monday night telemovie, in fact, I'd be surprised if I did see something really wonderful. So even coming in, my expectations were pretty low, but that doesn't give this movie an excuse to be mediocre. It should be good at what it was made for - some cheap entertainment for someone with nothing better to do that night. A lot of people think Australian films are terrible, and I'm actually one person who doesn't really agree with this; I see heaps more Aussie films than most people, and I don't mind most of them. And Small Claims certainly isn't the worst film ever. But, on the other hand, it's pretty far from the best.

pearly gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 10 Jun 2004

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