Three Blind Mice
Details: (M), 94 mins, Australia, English
Synopsis: Three young Navy Officers hit Sydney for one last night on land before being shipped over to the Gulf to fight. Sam (Ewen Leslie) has been mistreated at sea and is going AWOL, Dean (Toby Schmitz) has a fiance and future in-laws to meet, and Harry (Matthew Newton) just loves playing cards. Throughout the night the boys lose each other, find themselves, and along the way discover courage, friendship and redemption.
Strong acting and characterisations keep things ship-shape.
Three sailors on active service get a shore leave in Sydney and go out on the town. By dawn the next day they’ve learnt a thing or three about loyalty, forgiveness and the ties that bind, but rarely bond.
There’s a lot of stuff here about masculinity and maleness. But what’s interesting about the film is the casual way it unfolds. The big themes its working with, never seem forced because the actors are so 'in the moment'.
Actor-writer-director Matt Newton takes a familiar situation and pumps it up with an ensemble of very fine performances. Superbly shot by cinematographer Hugh Miller on a tiny budget, over a short schedule on real locations, Three Blind Mice (thankfully) fuses a lot of comedy with the grit.
Newton, somewhat under-rated as a performer, is splendid as the joker of the trio. There’s real angst underneath his facile on-screen personality. He provides great support for the film's major characters: Dean (Toby Schmitz), who doesn’t have his mind on the Navy or duty at all, and Sam (Ewen Leslie), whose character effectively drives the film's spare plot. Abused shipside in a ritual beating (punishment for buggering up on the job), Sam goes AWOL. The second half of the film spins on his two mates trying to find Sam and bring him back.
If the film has a design flaw in its narrative it is that we don’t really get a grasp on just why it’s so important for Harry and Dean to bring Sam back into the fold until it’s almost – but not quite – too late. Still, Newton seems less interested in plotting a suspense trajectory than creating a lived-in ambience around his characters. And that works brilliantly. Indeed the film offers a series of set piece scenes for a raft of fine actors, including Alex Dimintrides, Pia Miranda, Barry Otto and Jacki Weaver.
Three Blind Mice has the rare quality of a film that creates a sense that once the film ends the characters will go on.
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