The Merger - 4.5 Stars
A brilliant Australian film that needs to be seen.
Troy Carrington, a former professional football player returns to his country town after an abrupt end to his sporting career and is persuaded to coach the hapless local footy team, the Roosters.
It’s rare for an independent film in Australia to get a cinematic release, so I was hopeful for something strong upon seeing The Merger - it far exceeded my expectations. Damian Callinan has written an excellent script full of well-devolved, fascinating characters, funny clever moments and a lot of heart. The message of this film is so perfect for the moment too and it obvious, but isn’t shoved down your throat in an aggressive way. It’s masterful writing.
The ensemble including Callinan, John Howard, Stephen Hunter, Kate Mulvany and Fayssal Bazzi are excellent - there isn’t a weak link in the cast. Director Mark Grentell has done a brilliant job of realising this small town and I look forward to seeing what he does next.
Overall the best Australian film in years and one that you should see as it releases nationwide this week.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This!