A thriller with a difference


Directed by Paul Elliot and Hugh Keays-Byrne
At Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Town Hall, from February 15
Reviewed by Trish Corcoran
The Australian government has declared a state of emergency. Troops are being deployed to take action against "internal threats". This is the scene that opens the film Resistance. However, from that point it moves to outback Australia and very little is said about events that take place in the city. The story traces the events in a small rural community over the five days following the military crackdown. It is harvest time, so many itinerant harvest workers have moved into town looking for work. There is a lot of division within the community, particularly between the itinerant workers and the local workers. Over the five days of military repression, the divided community comes to realise that their common enemy is the military. They overcome their divisions to unite against it. The local indigenous community plays an important role in bringing together the different groupings. The film has been dubbed a "contemporary political thriller" by the New York Times. This is an exaggeration. The politics of the film are quite skewed. If Australia was at a point where the government declared a general state of emergency, you would imagine that the political consciousness of the population would be quite high. However, this is not reflected at all in the characters. There is no discussion amongst the community about why there is a state of emergency, or even what they think about it. "Thriller" is an accurate description, however: it had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It's portrayal of women was excellent. Not only did they work in non-traditional areas, but they were central to organising the resistance. It is an entertaining film, providing some interesting food for thought, but don't expect too much in-depth political commentary.