Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Nothing Men

Producer and co-star Martin Dingle-Wall calls The Nothing Men "a rusty nail, one inch punch of a film," and there's honestly no better way to describe it. Set in a dingy factory in the final two weeks before it gets shut down for good, the story sits with the erstwhile workers as they are forced to wait on their redundancy payouts. With cards, beers and a midday visit from the lunch truck their only entertainment, former foreman Jack (Colin Friels) and his men fritter their days away with the crassest forms of 'secret men's business'. That is until mild-mannered David (David Field) arrives and his last minute transfer is enough to turn Jack's corporate conspiracy theories into full-blown, deadly paranoia.

Set between Jack's worker blue singlets and David's crisp white shirts is the secretly tortured Wesley (Dingle Wall) and his physical and emotional shades of grey. Already sitting at a slight distance from Jack and the rest of the beer-swillers, Wesley finds a fellow chess player and cultural kindred spirit in David, as well as a decidedly more devastating discovery. It is here The Nothing Men asks its audience to accept a key coincidence, but in doing so writer-director Mark Fitzpatrick seeks to plumb the darkness of desperate men's souls.

In both writing and setting, The Nothing Men has a distinctly theatrical feel (indeed the screenplay has been adapted for the stage), but as the first Australian production to use the RED camera, the film also attempts to use the cramped location to innovative, cinematic ends. Powerhouse performances by Friels and Field further elevate this local fare to gripping heights, as combustible cocktail of grief, suspicion and old-fashioned bullying coalesce in the most bluntly terrifying climax.

Published on Concrete Playground
Australian release date (limited): 12 August 2010

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