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By Vicky Dimitrakopoulos | December 22, 2001

A good old Aussie BBQ – beers, burnt meat, winning charm and a knockabout Australian sense of humour and a bit of singing – what more could you ask for? “Mullet” is the disarmingly honest, new Australian comedy/drama, with a painful yet funny look at love, family and relationships. According to the producers’ blurb, this uniquely Australian story is about “the three F’s; fishing, football and f*****g.” It’s a universal story of the search for a place to belong and audiences will most definitely relate if not see themselves or friends through the characters I know I did.
Filmed entirely in the NSW South Coast town of Kiama, the storyline of Mullet is loosely based on Writer/Director David Cæsar’s experiences there as a young man. It tells a poignant story of Australian life; with a young bloke heading for the city in search of fame and fortune as a first grade footballer, only to return home a few years later full of disillusionment and a yearning to recapture his lost youth. In this instance, there’s also a girl involved isn’t there always?, but during our hero’s absence in the Big Smoke she’s gone and married his ……. But wait a second, I’d better not give too much of the plot away!
The footloose young bloke (Eddie “Mullet” Maloney) is played by gifted Australian actor, Ben Mendelsohn. The son of a retired pro’ fisherman, he’s apparently come home in the vague hope of pursuing the old man’s trade, but the only opening available to him in that line of work turns out to be netting bully mullet in the local estuary and flogging them to the co-op for a pittance.
In many ways, this disappointment stands as a metaphor for the whole experience of attempting to recapture a halcyon dream of youth that probably only ever existed in Eddie’s imagination. Alongside Mendelsohn is Susie Porter (a rising star on the Australian and international cinema scene) playing the role of Tully, his former squeeze and does a fine job at that. Eddie’s parents (Tony Barry and Kris McQuade) spend most of their time arguing, his sister Robbie (Peta Brady)isn’t so sure of his return back home and his brother Pete (Andrew S. Gilbert), has married during Eddie’s absence.
The tone of “Mullet” is quite reflective in terms of what it has to say about how angry young men grow up especially in small towns and after more than eight years in the making, “Mullet” arrives in the cinema as an honest, witty and grounded film. There are young mullets in New Jersey, New Zealand and New Delhi, thus it’s global theme will leave you with more than just a familiar feeling.

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