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Under the Radar (2004)

  Directed by: Evan Clarry
Written by: Steve Pratt
Starring: Steady Eddy, Chloe Maxwell, Nathan Phillips, Clayton Watson
Links: Under the Radar on the IMDb
Genre: Comedy
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2004 (nominee)

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

"Copycats from Ballarat" - a review by pearly

There are enough films about amnesia, right? Wrong. There's definitely room for one more, or so thinks Steve Pratt, writer of this D-grade Aussie flick with a title that, as far as I can tell, bears no relation to the content of the film itself.

The lead character in Under the Radar is Adrian (Clayton Watson), a young guy who, following a traumatic incident, lost the ability to store new memories. Sound familiar? That's because it was used as a plot device in Memento (2000) and 50 First Dates (2004), both in the last four years. These probably aren't the only examples either, and I'm only giving examples of this type of amnesia - I'm not even getting into other types, like what Bourne had in The Bourne Identity (2002).

What I'm trying to say is that I don't care whether this film was actually written five years ago, and it just took this long to get funding or something, there's really no need for another film about a character in this predicament. It took all my willpower to stop from screaming out loud when I realised, minutes into the film, that this was one of the basic elements of the film.

Furthermore, Watson acts this character out by basically having a stupid look on his face for the duration of the film: something akin to "duh, I don't get it". This becomes irritating quite quickly.

At least there's Nathan Phillips, who plays Brandon, a surfer who is put on a good behaviour bond and ordered to spend time helping out at the institution where Adrian lives after (mistakenly) attacking a boy with Down Syndrome. Phillips is a wonderful actor, who has unfortunately been in only mediocre films since his superb debut in Australian Rules (2002) (this choice of film being no exception). He seems to have grown and changed a bit in appearance since that first outing, and is able to provide a bit of interest to the otherwise pretty derivative boring crud offered by the rest of the film.

The premise, if you're still interested, is that Brandon, working at the institution, wants to get some time off to be in a surfing comp, but as he is not allowed to, he concocts a scheme to drive Adrian to the beach for therapeutic reasons. Trevor (Steady Eddy) tags along after bribing Brandon, and Jo (Chloe Maxwell) joins the gang at some stage too. However, they take a wrong turn, stumble onto some criminals, and find themselves in a world of trouble.

Of course, as it is popular to tell these types of stories in a non-linear fashion, so it is done in Under the Radar. I didn't mind this; it makes the story more interesting if it's executed in this way, and this part of the film wasn't done so badly. However, it's not unique in any shape of the word, and the film really struggles to impress because of this.

pearly gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 7 Sep 2004

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Reader comments

  1. This movie is the best aussie pisser I have seen. I was rolling on the floor laughing. I was by myself and I dont usually laugh when I watch movies by myself but I couldnt contain myself with this one. Highly recommended. A must see.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Melissa on Tue 18 Jan 2005 15:51 #

  2. Oh and Nathan Phillips what a babe

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Melissa on Tue 18 Jan 2005 15:51 #

  3. Shes Fantastic, i reckon shes a great model, actor and tv presenter and Damm Pretty.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Ben on Sun 27 Mar 2005 21:33 #

  4. Good movie... steady eddy is the best

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from alex on Sat 09 Apr 2005 00:04 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (4 ratings)

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