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Smash Palace

New Zealand 1981
produced by
Roger Donaldson for Aardvark Films, New Zealand Film Commission
directed by Roger Donaldson
starring Bruno Lawrence, Anna Maria Monticelli (as Anna Jemison), Greer Robson-Kirk, Keith Aberdein, Desmond Kelly, Lynne Robson, Margaret Umbers, Sean Duffy, Bryan Johnson, Terence Donovan, Dick Rollo, Ian Barber, Mike Beytagh, Brian Chase, Ross Davies, Colin Fredricksen, Thomas King, Chris Pasco, Ewan Somerville, Frank Taylor, Ray Littlewood, Mike Wiggins, Doug McKenzie, Don Lee
written by Roger Donaldson, Peter Hansard, Bruno Lawrence, music by Sharon O'Neill

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Al (Bruno Lawrence) was once successful race driver, but nowadays he owns a car graveyard somewhere in the middle of nowhere, New Zealand, where he scavenges all the car wrecks coming in for spare parts he uses to fix up eccentric cars for his clients, and also to build himself a race car for a mini-comeback - and he couldn't be happier, especially thanks to his 7 year old daughter Georgie (Greer Robson-Kirk), whom he loves more than anything in the world, and who loves him back. Thing is, his wife Jacqui (Anna Maria Monticelli) is less than happy about living on the junkyard with him, especially since his work/passion consumes most of his time, and he shows little interest in even going out with her or anything. And even when she starts spelling out the warning signs that a break-up might be imminent, he just ignores it ... until she moves out, taking Georgie with her. Plus, of all people, she starts an affair with Al's best friend Ray (Keith Aberdein).

Now as long as Al still has his race in front of him, it seems he's keeping himself in check rather admirably, but once he has won that, things get out of hand pretty quickly, resulting in a short stay in jail, a restraining order - and ultimately a kidnapping and hostage situation ...


Now here's a film that proves that clever writing and a versatile directorial effort can go a long way when it comes to shattering genre boundaries: Basically a drama about a break-up, this film also features plenty of action thanks to it's car race subplot (and the race is especially well-filmed), before it goes into thriller territory in the finale - but in all of this genre hodgepodge the actual story never gets lost, instead really carries the film. And add to this some rather great locations and strong performances, and you've got yourself a movie that's not to be missed!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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Michael Haberfelner


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