Sunday Too Far Away
(1975 Ken Hannam)
Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright
and this film were made only 4 years apart, they are both about male culture in Australia's outback, both have handsome leads. They are very different in their views about these cultures. Wake in Fright shows it as toxic and self-destructive; while Sunday Too Far Away shows it as slightly problematic, but not that bad.
We are introduced to Foley (Jack Thompson) in the opening credits. We watch as a car speeds along an outback dirt road, hits a blockage on the road, rolls and ends up on the side of the road, wrecked. Foley crawls out, gets his bag and water sack and casually walks on through the vast open wilderness. Foley is not a person to take hardship hard, rather he takes it in his stride. We find out Foley is a gun sheerer, heading to town for work. He plonks himself down at the pub bar and catches up with various people he has known.
Soon Foley and a crew are off into the desert to work on a station. Women are scarce, but this does not appear to phase these men. They work hard and drink hard. Foley oozes calm acceptance of his role as the best, but finds his top position challenged by man in the crew he does not know. Sheerers are paid per 100 sheep shaun and this makes them a competitive bunch. One of my favourite scenes in the movie has Foley and Ugly (John Ewart) standing at a trough in an unspoken competition over cleaning their clothes. By the height of the competition both men are naked and the camera focuses on their wobbling bottom cheeks. The scene might be considered NSFW, but here it is:
The film does not finish well, it ties up with most of the crew railing against a drop in wages and going on strike. It was not required, I was fine with this just being about a group of sheerers doing their job.
The performances are uniformly very good, and I loved the colour of the film with it's dusty gritty sheen.Rating
: 77 / 100