2:37 (Two Thirty 7)
It’s only a matter of time                                    By Trinity Townsend

FILM INFORMATION

KEY CREW
           
MURALI K. THALLURI                              -Director
-Writer
-Producer
-Co-Editor

KENT SMITH                                                -Producer

NICK MATTHEWS                                      -Cinematographer
-Co-Editor
-Producer

DALE ROBERTS                                          -Film Editor

MARTY PEPPER                                          -Visual Effects Artist & Colourist

MARK TSCHANZ                                        -Composer

FRANCIS WARD LINDSAY                                  -Sound Supervisor, Sound Effects

LESLIE SHATZ C.S.T.                                  -Sound Designer & Sound Mixer

Produced by M2 Entertainment and Kojo Pictures

KEY CAST

TERESA PALMER                                        -Melody

JOEL MACKENZIE                                      -Sean

FRANK SWEET                                            -Marcus

MARNI SPILLANE                                      -Sarah

SAM HARRIS                                                           -Luke

CHARLES BAIRD                                        -Uneven Steven

CLEMENTINE MELLOR                             -Kelly


RELEASE DATES

FRANCE                                                        -26th May 2006
(Cannes Film Festival)

AUSTRALIA                                                 -28th July 2006
(Melbourne Intl Film Festival)

AUSTRALIA                                                 -17th August 2006

CANADA                                                      -8th September 2006
(Toronto Film Festival)

JAPAN                                                           -24th October 2006
(Tokyo Intl Film Festival)

FRANCE                                                        -29th November 2006

GREECE                                                         -11th January 2007
(Limited Release)

TURKEY                                                        -31st March 2007
(Istanbul Film Festival)

JAPAN                                                           -21st April 2007

GERMANY                                                   -6th September 2007

imdb.com


BUDGET AND AUSTRALIAN BOX OFFICE FIGURES

Budget                                                 -Approx.  $1million
Total Gross                                                     -$436,257
Opening week (17-20 August)                       -AU $132,605 from a 51 screens

Currently ranks at #238 of Australian Films according to its Box Office figures in Australia.

imdb.com movie marshall


BIBLIOGRAPHY OF INTERVIEWS WITH MURALI K. THALLURI

News and Events: Murali K. Thalluri.  Interview by Mark Beirne, http://www.yourmovies.com.au/news/?action=news&i=90033 accessed 20/04/2007

News and Events: 2:37 – a two-section shoot and a Cannes selection.  Interview with Nick Matthews and Murali K. Thalluri by Mike Cowap.  http://afc.gov.au/newsandevents/afcnews/converse/mura/newspage_287.aspx accessed 13/03/2007

Moviehole.net: Interview with Murali K. Thalluri by Clint Morris, http://www.moviehole.net/interviews/20060806_interview_murali_thalluri.html accessed 20/04/2007

Director’s Statement http://www.twothirty7.com/page/default.asp?site=1&id=553 accessed 20/04/2007

2:37 Peter Galvin interviews the star Teresa Palmer and writer/director Murali K. Thalluri about this remarkable debut – not only his first feature film but first film – which catapulted him from Adelaide to Cannes in Inside Film Magazine Issue 90, August 2006, pp 21-25.

Smith, Stephen R.  “Sound Ideas” in Inside Film, Issue 90, August 2006, p26.


BIBLIOGRAPHY OF REVIEWS IN BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS AND JOURNALS

Adams, Michael, “In Cinemas: 2:37” in EMPIRE Magazine, Issue 66, September 2006, p25.
Cinematic Review: 3/5 “Murali K. Thalluri gets strong performances from his young cast, the dialogue’s authentic and while derivative, the film’s look and structure are sophisticated beyond his years.”

Verlane, Sophie, “Play: 2:37” in EMPIRE Magazine, Issue 71, February 2007, p107.
            DVD Review: 3/5 “He scraped together private funds to make 2:37, which screened in Cannes, only to see the claws of suspicion come out upon the film’s local release.”

Leach, Pier, “Now Showing: 2:37” in Today Liftout Section of The West Australian, Newspaper, pg2, August 24th, 2006.
Cinematic Review: 3.5/5 “first time director Murali K. Thalluri has put together an impressive first feature… Thalluri elicits fine performances for his mostly amateur cast and pulls off some dazzling camera moves.”
           
           


NOMINATIONS AND FESTIVALS

 2:37 was shown twice at the Cannes film festival as well as being shown at the Toronto, Melbourne, Istanbul and Tokyo film festivals. 

2:37 received four nominations including a nomination for Tokyo Grand Prix at the Tokyo Film Festival.  It’s other nominations were by the Australian Film Industry (AFI) for Best Young Actor Award (Frank Sweet), Best Original Screenplay (Murali K. Thalluri) and Best Lead Actress (Teresa Palmer).


ONLINE PRESENCE OF 2:37

Entering the phrase “2:37” into a search engine returns many useful sites of varying value.  For the first few pages at least the results are all related to the film but the quality of the results is often questionable.  It is certain that Murali K. Thalluri’s debut film has reached a reasonably large audience of people.  Although many of the returns where of critics and ‘bloggers’ whose opinions are more trying to ridicule Thalluri than they are being critically helpful.  Possibly due to Thalluri and his actors being formerly unknown, finding interviews with Thalluri and reviews of the film proved extremely difficult. 
In Australia the film didn’t receive a very congratulatory audience and this shows in the small amount of reviews and interviews available except in devoted Australian film magazines such as Empire and Inside Film
Typing in “Two Thirty 7” also yielded several additional useful results, as Two Thirty7 was the Australian promotional title of 2:37.


CRITICAL REVIEW OF 2:37 AND ITS LITERATURE

CRITICAL REVIEW OF 2:37

PLOT:  2:37 follows the complex and interwoven lives of six high-school students as they deal with their delicate and problematic lives.  Any one of them could be the person found at the end of the day lying lifeless on the bathroom floor. 

SYNOPSIS:  For a debut film by director and writer Murali K. Thalluri, 2:37 certainly was a hard-hitting and controversial film.  The opening scene shows blood seeping underneath a bathroom door and the story goes back to the beginning of the day to follow the lives of six different people – any of whom could have been the person on the bathroom floor.  In their own depression, each of the students does not see their peers’ suffering and angst.  Each of the students has their own issues to deal with.  One is a gay dope-smoking loner, another an attractive athlete fighting with his sexuality, one has been suffering through incestual rape, another has the pressures and ideals his father is forcing upon him, one just wants to be loved and to feel loved and one has medical problems that, along with his relocation from another country, don’t make it easy for him to develop any kind of relationship. 

I found the film to be quite startling.  Although it presented yet another story of teen angst and depression, the representation of 2:37 was fresh and oddly surprising.  The story began with tragedy and ended even more profoundly with a deeper portrayal of the tragedy.  The opening music seemed to be scored with impending doom.  It seemed sad, lonely and tragic. 
There were incredible scenes when the acting was so brutally vivid and real.  The characters had real hopelessness in their lives and their relation to one another. Yet in their own almost selfish depression they didn’t see how disconsolated there own siblings, friends and peers were.  Although in itself the suicide scene was so depressing, I can appreciate that Thalluri aimed to show a very real portrayal of the victims’ helplessness.  He didn’t gloss the scene over by finishing it before it got too graphic.  Instead he allowed the action to take place in powerful detail as this allowed viewers to really attach themselves to the scene and to the lonely character. 
The incorporation of the interviews was also a very influential part of the meaning of the film as it felt like I was getting a personal glimpse into the lives of the students.  It was as if each of the students were talking to a guidance counselor or someone similar, as such a personal revelation of the teenagers’ lives would otherwise be rare. 


CRITICAL UPTAKE

I believe the critical acclaim of 2:37 was a lot higher before its national release in Australia in August 2006.  This may be due to the fact that director Murali K. Thalluri had never done any film work before and his first ever film had been accepted into the Cannes Film Festival.  Being a controversial film that was supposedly linked to Thalluri’s own personal life it initially received a lot of critical attention. 
Since it’s local release 2:37 received negative criticism from the media saying that his film was made too similarly to Gus Van Sant’s movie Elephant (Empire, 2007:107) and (Leach in West Australian, 2006).  Its Australian audience failed to give back Thalluri and his team half of the estimate $1million budget at the box office.  It is apparent that as 2:37 had unknown actors and filmmakers, as well as not having any recent similar Australian films to relate Thalluri’s film, to the majority of the Australian film-watching public had little hopes for the film.  2:37 was only shown on 51 screens across the entirety of the Australian country.  In my research of the film I came across only one cinema in Perth that screened 2:37 as it was advertised in The West Australian (24th August 2006) with Pier Leach’s short review of the film.  The limited screenings I presume would not have helped in the promotion of the film.  I would assume that it would be highly unlikely for many mainstream cinemas – and therefore the mainstream viewing audiences of Australia would have heard of 2:37 before it’s DVD release in January 2007. 


CIRCUMSTANCES OF PRODUCTION AND RELEASE

Director Murali K. Thalluri reportedly wrote the film after his own struggle with depression and attempted suicide (two thirty 7.com).  He was determined to vent his angst through focusing on writing the film and sending a message throughout the world.  His first audience was at the Cannes Film Festival from which he received praise and high acclaim.  Since then Thalluri’s film has been shown in festivals at Toronto, Tokyo, Melbourne and Istanbul. 
With an estimated budget of $1million and none of it from any government agencies, it is very unlikely that there would be much funding for marketing and promotion for the film.  I believe this would be of direct consequence to the performance of the film during its cinematic screenings where in Australia it failed to earn even half of the budget back from Box Office sales. 


PREVIOUS WORKS OF CAST AND CREW

For director Murali K. Thalluri, 2:37 was his debut feature film.  He is reportedly working on a second feature film (twothirty7.com) however I could not find any information about any such film. 

Producer “Kent Smith is the founding partner of the KoJo Group he is a cinematographer and executive producer, he has worked on Wolf Creek (2005) as a second director of photography (twothirty7.com). 

Nick Matthews who was cinematographer, co-editor and producer of 2:37 had “worked in camera departments in Europe on productions such as the Steven Spielberg / Tom Hanks HBO series Band of Brothers, the Hugh Grant movie About a Boy, and the BBC miniseries Armadillo”(twothirty7.com) before he helped Thalluri make 2:37.  He has since done more photography work, which have been nominated and also won various awards in Australia.  Together with Murali K. Thalluri, he has started a production company called M2 Entertainment. 

Dale Roberts was editor of 2:37, which was also his first feature length film.  He is director of the KoJo group. 

Dale also works as the post-production producer for the Kojo Group and has worked on films such as “Hearts in Atlantis”, “Snow Falling on Cedars”, “Wolf Creek” and “Black and White”.  This role has seen Dale work with studios such as The Weinstein Company, Warner Brothers, Castlerock and Universal Pictures.
(twothirty7.com)

Marty Pepper was the visual effects artist and colourist of 2:37 and has reportedly had 18 years experience as a visual artist before being part of the film. 

Marty has spent the past 3 years developing a digital film flow path that recently culminated in the delivery of films like WOLF CREEK, ELEPHANT TALES and 2:37 and is currently working on Greg McLean's latest feature ROGUE.  (twothirty7.com)

Mark Tschanz was composer for five films including Teknolust (2002) before he was a composer for 2:37 and has composed for one film since.  He has also composed for television and appeared in the soundtracks of several films (imdb.com). 

Francis Ward Lindsay who was the sound supervisor and in charge of sound effects for 2:37 had previously “received two MPSE Golden Reel nominations for his work as lead Sound Editor on Zhang Yimou’s Hero and Antoine Fuquar’s King Arthur”(twothirty7.com). 

Leslie Shatz C.S.T was sound designer and sound mixer for Thalluri’s 2:37.  He has been involved in the sound of over seventy films in his thirty something years of being a sound mixer.  He has been involved a wide variety of films including Star Wars Episode V (1980), The Thin Blue Line (1988), Don’t Tell Mom The Baby-sitter’s Dead (1991), Good Will Hunting (1997), and Sahara (2005) (imdb.com).  Since 2:37, he has been involved in three more films. 

None of the actors in 2:37 had previously been in any films. 
Murali K. Thalluri picked out Charles Baird who plays Uneven Steven in the film as he walked down Rundle Mall in Adelaide.  He had no previous acting experience (twothirty7.com).

Marni Spillane (Sarah) similarly to a most of the cast, Spillane had attended “drama/acting classes for three years at SA casting” (twothirty7.com).  She appeared for a small role in Mat King’s 50-minute film Angela’s Decision (2007) (imdb.com).

Clementine Mellor (Kelly) has since been signed by RGM.  She had no previous film experience and had “attended drama/acting classes for 3 years at SA casting” (twothirty7.com).  Was in Angela’s Decision (2007) in a small part with Marni Spillane (imdb.com)

Joel Mackenzie (Sean) after 2 years of classes at SA casting, had reportedly “done nothing of significance” before playing Sean in 2:37 but has since been “signed with RGM” (twothirty7.com).

Frank Sweet (Marcus) “has done a few radio commercials and amateur short films but had not a done a feature film before 2:37… he attended drama/acting classes for 2 years at Actors Ink… [and is] now signed with RGM” (twothirty7.com).

Since 2:37 Sam Harris (Luke) has had a small role in a short film entitled The Von (2007). His only acting experience was from his high school education and school plays (twothirty7.com).

Marni Spillane (Sarah) similarly to a most of the cast, Spillane had attended “drama/acting classes for three years at SA casting” (twothirty7.com).  She appeared for a small role in Mat King’s 50-minute film Angela’s Decision (2007).

Teresa Palmer (Melody) was probably the most promising of all the cast of 2:37 and has certainly had the most ‘success’ since the release of 2:37.  She “has gone on to work on back to back film projects including December Boys opposite Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe… Teresa also stars in the forthcoming UK/Australian co-production Fate” (twothirty7.com).  Palmer also appeared in The Grudge 2 (imdb.com and twothirty7.com) and according to the Internet Movie Database has two films in post-production – Ravenswood (2006), an Australian thriller/drama, and Kids in America (2008) a Hollywood comedy/drama.  Apparently Teresa Palmer was also set to star in Jumper (2008) but after several weeks gave the role to Rachel Bilson (imdb.com).


THE GENERAL POSITION OF AUSTRALIAN FILM AND FILMIC VALUE IN AUSTRALIA ACCORDING TO THE UPTAKE OF 2:37.

I would assume from the small budget that Murali K. Thalluri had to make 2:37 that Australian cinema isn’t as eagerly funded as its Hollywood counterparts in which actors alone are paid millions for.  The majority of the Australian public does not seem as accepting of Australian films as they are of Hollywood films.  Where Australian films often don’t even make the Top Ten in the Box Office, it is a mere observation that Australians would prefer to watch trusted actors or films of directors they have heard of and can relate to.
It is the film festivals all over the world that will accept the smaller Australian films such as 2:37 that the Australian ‘movie-goers’ reject.  Cannes and Toronto were eager to show 2:37 but when it was shown locally, it was only shown for about two weeks (moviemarshall.com) and took in less that half a million dollars.  Whether it be the fault of bad advertising, unheard of actors and filmmakers or lack of funding, the Australian public has a long way to be as accepting of Australian cinema as they are of Hollywood.  By any regard, the acting of the Australian actors is often as brilliant if not better than that of popular American actors, the direction is more spectacular and the narrative and stories of the films seem more cleverly planned and produced.


THE AUSTRALIAN-NESS OF 2:37 AND ITS GENRES

I believe the most Australian thing about this film was its honesty in its portrayal of school students and their issues.  Many modern Hollywood films seem to gloss over the issues and avoid controversy.  Yet the culture in the film seemed to shadow American culture to some extent.  The family lives were not definitively characteristic to Australia. There were no obvious larrikins or typically Australian characters.  What made 2:37 Australian were its actors, filmmakers and its’ setting in Adelaide.  The dark and depressing subject and the way in which Murali K. Thalluri constructed the film was a more graphic and genuine representation adds not only to its Australian-ness but also definitely to its un-American-ness.

2:37 as with many Australian films is difficult to put into just one genre.  To put 2:37 into the genre of teenpic would cover a lot of the issues.  Teenpic films are often set around a school environment. The only action outside of the school in 2:37 is when each of the six students is getting ready for school and when Teresa, one of the students, has a flashback.  The students are all teenagers, played by actors in the same age group, which fits with “an ideal type of teen movie would be one in which the central were explicitly aged between 12 and 20, played by actors of the same age” (Gillard, 2007:117) the problem being that as a film rated R18+ it wouldn’t be accessible to most teenage people, but more so aimed at young adults.
The film could be put into the ‘social problems’ genre as the story relates primarily to the social issue of depression.  2:37 also involves social problems such as homosexuality and, as a consequence of the depression, suicide.  The problems that the students had in the film were recurring problems faced by high-school students and young adults all over Australia.  The issues were real and current and as Murali K. Thalluri had identified the issues he was addressing them in a way he could.  Thalluri made the dramatisation real and incorporated documentary-style sections of quasi-interviews which fits with what Garry Gillard says –  “the style of the Australian social problem film may have its origins in the long history of documentary film-making in this country” (Gillard, 2007:47).


References:

2:37, http://www.theage.com.au/news/film-reviews/237/2006/08/16/1155407887548.html, Philippa Hawker, The Age online newspaper, 16th August 2006, accessed 20/04/2007

Arclight Films: Catalogue: 2:37, http://www.arclightfilms.com/labels/arclight/catalogue/237.php, Arclight Films, USA and Australia. Accessed 20/04/2007

Media Search: Music, Film and Fashion in Australia, http://www.mediasearch.com.au/film/filmreviews/twothirtyseven-filmreview, Carmine Pascuzzi, 2007. Accessed 20/04/2007

Cast and Crew: Crew http://www.twothirty7.com/page/default.asp?site=1&page=Crew, Kojo Interactive, 2006. Accessed 14/03/2007

Cast and Crew: Cast http://www.twothirty7.com/page/default.asp?site=1&page=CastAndCrew, Kojo Interactive,
2006. Accessed 14/03/2007

Gillard, Garry. Ten Types of Australian Film, 2007, Murdoch University, Australia.

Internet Movie DataBase, 2:37, http://imdb.com/title/tt0472582/, An Amazon.com Company, 1990-2007. Accessed 20/04/2007

Internet movie DataBase, Leslie Shatz, http://imdb.com/name/nm0789458/, An Amazon.com Company, 1990-2007.Accessed 22/04/. 2007-04-25

Internet movie DataBase, Mark Tschanz, http://imdb.com/name/nm0874774/, An Amazon.com Company, 1990-2007.Accessed 22/04/. 2007-04-25

Interview: Murali Thalluri, http://moviehole.net/interviews/20060608_interview_murali_thalluri.html, Clint Morris, Movie Hole, 6th August 2006. Access 20/04/2007.

Murali K. Thalluri Interview, http://www.yourmovies.com.au/news/?action=news&i=90033, Your Movies. Accessed 20/04/2007

Uncertain Regard: Two Thirty 7, http://www.festival-cannes.org/films/fiche_film.php?langue=6002&id_film=4362614, Cannes Film Festival. Accessed 20/04/2007