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The Finished People (2003)

  Directed by: Khoa Do
Written by: Rodney Anderson, Khoa Do, Joe Le, Jason McGoldrick
Starring: Rodney Anderson, Mylinh Dinh, Daniela Italiano, Joe Le, Jason McGoldrick
Links: The Finished People on the IMDb
Genre: Drama
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2004 (nominee)

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Exploring realism" - a review by pearly

The Finished People is a documentary-style piece of fiction, which at first reminded me of Forever (2004), because I couldn't figure out where exactly the blurry line between reality and fiction sat. As a matter of fact, if I hadn't already known that the film was nominated in the AFI Awards: Best Film 2004 category, I wouldn't be have been able to decide whether it was a documentary or not. I suppose this is testament to the actor's ability.

Set in Cabramatta, a town in western Sydney, Australia, with one of the highest crime rates in the country, The Finished People is the story of three guys living on the streets. Des (Rodney Anderson) has a pregnant girlfriend, and is in the throes of deciding whether to pursue a life of crime in order to make ends meet, or to stick with begging. Van (Joe Le) steals some clothes from a clothesline and in doing so, meets and befriends Carla (Daniela Italiano). He cannot decide whether to continue living on the streets, or to go back to his mother and abusive step-father. Tommy (Jason McGoldrick) is sick of his life as a drug addict, and is trying, with the help of his on-track friend Sara (Mylinh Dinh), to get a decent job, but due to previous run-ins with the law, he's having trouble.

The Finished People is quite low budget, adding to the authenticity of the documentary style (though, I presume this is via necessity rather than choice). When I saw it, the quality of the film was quite low, with scratchy lines across the opening credits and the first portion of the film proper, but these seemed to disappear after a while, and luckily weren't too distracting. I wonder when cinemas will go digital?

Unfortunately, I think that a lot of the realism that was created in the first half of the film was lost towards the end as some of the storylines became a bit too big for their boots, and I'm sure the number of people who were going along with it all began dropping off, moving into the "I'm not buying it" group. This wasn't too bad (they didn't get abducted by aliens or anything), but it was certainly there.

As a collaborative piece, The Finished People is quite interesting. The lead three actors also helped director Khoa Do with the writing, which showed in the final piece, as all the actors seemed very comfortable with their words. Interestingly, during the credits, there was a huge thank you to Jane Campion, though I don't know what the extent of her involvement was. Overall quite competent, but nothing mind-blowing.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 31 Aug 2004

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Reader comments

  1. Quite possibly the most important Australian film made. It is a stunning testament to how digital technology is revolutionising the sociology of the arts and allowing society's most disenfranchised and under-valued to tell their story. Despite dealing with gut-wrenching subject matter, "The Finished People" is graceful rather than gritty. Will change your life.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Bina Bhattacharya on Fri 01 Oct 2004 14:33 #

  2. a very intreging look into the life of children on the streetsn and the shit they go through and deal with

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from nessa on Wed 31 Aug 2005 21:16 #

  3. Definately a film which exposes the sad truths and issues that exist in society today.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from Dianne Sadek on Wed 03 Sep 2008 19:56 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.67 (3 ratings)

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