Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mini Review: Don's Party (1976)

Don Henderson, a middle class schoolteacher, husband and father throws a house party on election night 1969 to celebrate with his mates the predicted victory of the Australian Labor Party; but as the night gets rolling all attention shifts to constant games of one-upmanship and trying to seduce each others wives and girlfriends.

Adapted to the screen from David Williamson's hit stage play of the same name this film is an embodiment of middle class Australia during a rather turbulent time in the nation's political history. The need for a change in government was becoming more vocal in society but it didn't occur until three years later much to the dismal of the ALP and its many voters.

I found the film to be a look at society in general. One of the messages I took from the film is that people are full of shit a lot of the time. Don is probably the best example of that as he acts all politically motivated and concerned for Australia's well being but as the more drunk he becomes he mind is fixed some of the more simple things in life and you get a sense that he never really cared to begin with, I think he likes the idea of people a political person.

Performances are very colourful, outlandish and uniquely Australian from many great Aussie actors, some who are sadly no longer with us such as John Hargreaves who was terrific as Don and the hilarious Graham Kennedy.

This film is 90 odd minutes of what might have been, hope for a better future under a new government but as the party ends its back to reality or three more years of conservative rule as Don would probably say. But regardless of which political party you vote for, be it Labor or Liberal you do feel a bit sad for these characters even though most didn't really care about the election's outcome. Don's Party is a clever Aussie comedy that explores themes and issues that are still very relevant today.

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