I looked forward to watching an Australian film, about Australian problems, in our most-known Australian city.
What a let down.
I should have been warned by the inclusion of Cristina Ricci as a token American, who supposedly knows how to fix urban Aboriginal "at risk" (from what ?) kids' problems, laughably by teaching Hamlet.
Written and directed by Sarah Spillane, who allegedly lived for years in Redfern & is now Los Angeles based, the film meanders around very cliched subjects such as disaffected youth, a family member in prison, racial problems, and stereotypical police and teacher roles.
No depth, no great character development or logical behaviour sequencing & progression, technically lukewarm to pass-mark for lighting & sound, weak dialogue and almost no use of real-life dilemmas.
Even the title has a twee, American "did you see what we did with that double meaning in the title ?" about it. Very un-Australian, and very off-putting.
Anyone brought up on a diet of American rebellious youth movies and TV could have written this tripe, which bears little to the reality of the subject matter. Gangsta rap and hand gestures have absolutely nothing to teach Aboriginal kids, other than "violence is the answer" and separatism cures race rifts.
To round out how far the movie misses it's own point, a ridiculous lesbian scene with Australia's most useless, no-talent, celebrity lesbian, Ruby Rose, is tossed in for no apparent reason (and no sub-plot storyline introduction) and should have been left on the cutting room floor.
It has no utility and is not germane to the poorly expressed storyline.
There are enough real and important issues arising from Redfern to make several concise and insightful full-length features, and this is not one of them. It unfolds as a "US garbage morals and message" movie, superimposed on an Australian scene and for the most part ignoring Aboriginal reality.
Australia has entirely different problems between indigenous and white settlement, than American "White" and "Negro" race problems. Using a US cookie-cutter outline on an Australian problem smacks of opportunism and only serves to further differences between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people - useless at best and dangerous at worst, creating an American style sub-culture and ghetto mindset which will only repeat, not break, the cycle of loss and alienation.
The standout acting in this film is from Mark Coles Smith, who has screen presence and a cheeky, engaging and charming smile, who could sell ice to Eskimos, and if utilised correctly will see great things for him in years to come.
Stay in Los Angeles Sarah, and write American crap over there. Don't try to parasite from the back of troubled people to a comfortable life as a movie "director".
Two stars for providing local employment. Try a LOT harder next time.