THE ACTRESS

4 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes
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In a charmingly crude little tale that almost everyone could relate to, supermarket manager Tom (Matt Hardie), office worker Kevin (Steve McCall) and gay university student Claire (Jodie Passmore) find themselves looking for a fourth housemate to move in after Claire’s lover breaks up with her and leaves the shared house. The rent is due very soon and they cannot afford to pay an extra share. In order to cheer Claire up, Tom (at Kevin’s you do it signal) offers to make a nice dinner for just the three of them to help cheer her up. While Tom is picking up some groceries he sees a girl in the supermarket who is sporting some luggage. He approaches her and asks her if she wants somewhere to stay. Before too long Emma (Caitlin Higgins) is on the way back to the house and becomes the new roommate.

Emma is not just an ordinary housemate. She claims to be an actress and her motives are dark as she begins a love triangle by sleeping with Tom, Kevin and Claire. All three of them learn of the sharing situation and it causes friendships to fall to pieces in a jealous circle as they all fight for her attention.

This truly is a cleverly timed dark-comedy from newcomer Zak Hilditch which had a budget of around $700 and was shot over a three month period. The performances are truly inspired and the material they had to work with would have helped but they all made the lines their own. It is one of those films that has many memorable scenes that you can just picture people re-enacting amongst friends. The cast is first rate, as is the direction, screenplay and score which really creates the perception that the budget must have been at least $100,000.

My favourite performance in the film came from Steve McCall (who also co-wrote) who plays Kevin the disillusioned, chronic masturbator who could very well become the next big name in comedy as he earned some very well deserved laughs; particularly in the scene at the supermarket where he gloatingly watches Tom clean up an intentional spill. He was the proud owner of the mess. Caitlin Higgins who plays Emma looks remarkably like Liv Tyler and reminds me a lot of her performance from “One Night at McCool’s”. All of the character transitions from friends to adversaries was only too believable in this sharply made little indie.

I certainly hope the film gets picked up by a distributor and hopefully this review will help. Exciting and involving every step of the way.



Posted on July 26, 2005 in Reviews by
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