Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington) has done eight years inside for a murder he claims he didn’t commit during a robbery in which his major accomplice was the Aussie Gold Coast gangster Chicka Martin (Gary Sweet). He reckons it was crooked cop Arnie DeViers (David Field) who verballed him. Now he’s out on parole and wanting to 'get square’ and look after his younger brother. His best friend Johnny 'Spit’ Spitieri (David Wenham) is still hooked on drugs but also trying to 'get square’ and is a go between for Darren 'Dabba’ Barrington (Timothy Spall) who offers Barry a job in his so far empty Gold Coast restaurant. The tough new Criminal Investigation Commission is after all of them, and Barry has to stay out of trouble – but still 'get square’.
 

4
A cleverly told yarn with a swathe of credible characters.

The director, Jonathan Teplitsky, teamed up with barrister come novelist and debut screenwriter Chris Nyst for his second film after Better Than Sex. Gettin' Square doesn't actually mean getting even, in criminal parlance it means going straight. And that's what Barry Wirth, Sam Worthington is determined to do when he's released after the death of his mother to look after his younger brother. Barry had taken the rap for his mother's former boyfriend Chicka, Gary Sweet, who's keen to take Barry and his brother into the fold again. But Barry gets a job as cook in the newly established restaurant of former crim Darren Barrington, Timothy Spall who's also trying to get square. There's just one problem, Johnny 'Spit' Spitieri, David Wenham, a former gaolmate of Barry's. Spit's a heroin addict and is trying to set up one last deal so he can go to Israel for a cure. Spit sports a mullet hairdo, glazed eyes and the worst taste in clothing ever to grace our screens.

This cleverly told yarn has a swathe of credible characters brought to life by a talented cast. It's obvious that screenwriter Nyst knows the criminal world well, and it's also obvious he has a fondness for these malcreants. It's telling that the relationship element of the plot between Barry and social worker Annie Flynn, Freya Stafford, is the least satisfactorily developed, however Helen Thomson, who plays Darren's wife, certainly makes her presence felt in a good way. I don't know that the film would have been quite so successful if it hadn't been for David Wenham's inspired performance as Spit, it's one that could easily have tipped over into caricature but he pitches it perfectly on the edge. It's good to see some terrific Australian films hitting our screens currently.