Eddie returns to his home town on the south coast of New South Wales. Having left for the city without explanation a few years previously, he tries to pick up the pieces of his life and fit back in to the lives of those he left, including his ex-girlfriend Tully and brother Pete.
Mullet, Ben Mendelson, hitch-hikes back home to the NSW south coast town of Coollawarra, population 1491. He had left three years earlier, without a word of explanation - walking out on his girlfriend, Tully, Susie Porter, his parents, Tony Barry, Kris McQuade, his football team, his friends. He never communicated; no-body knew where he'd gone. Now he's back, and trying to pick up the pieces, but Tully's married to Pete, Andrew S. Gilbert, his brother, the local cop - and things have changed - the town is dying.
This beautiful film combines melancholy and humour in a story about the difficulty of coming home. It's also a probing examination into what's happening to rural Australia. David Caesar's acutely observed script and direction, and Bob Humphrey's widescreen photography evoke this small community with affection and a degree of sorrow (Coollawarra is a fictitious town; Mullet was filmed in the Illawarra region, south of Wollongong).
Ben Mendelsohn gives a rounded portrayal of Mullet, a larrikin but at the same time something of a no-hoper. Susie Porter is achingly good as the woman who perhaps loves him still, but who has been forced to make choices that don't include him. As his bickering parents, Tony Barry and Kris McQuade are simply wonderful. And there's also a riveting performance from Belinda McClory as Kath, who runs the local pub, a lonely woman with a big heart. But everyone in the film is good, and Mullet, though small scale, provides a very rich microcosm of contemporary Australia.