Megan Kirt
MED231
Garry Gillard
27 April 2007
Suburban Mayhem

Why would a 19 year old kill her own father?

Part One

Crew

Director: Paul Goldman
Screenplay: Alice Bell
Executive Producer: Leah Churchill-Brown
Producer: Jan Chapman
Cinematographer: Robert Humphreys
Editor: Stephan Evans
Original Music: Mick Harvey
Production Companies: Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC), Doll Australia, New South Wales Film and Television Office
Distributors: Contender Entertainment Group- UK theatrical 2006, Fortissimo Films- Worldwide all media 2005, Icon Film Distribution- Australia theatrical 2006

Cast

Katrina: Emily Barclay
Rusty: Michael Dorman
John: Robert Morgan
Kenny: Anthony Hayes
Danny: Laurence Bruels
Robert Andretti: Steve Bastoni
Lilya: Mia Wasikowska
Diane: Genevieve Lemon
Janelle: Madeleine Jaine
Christine: Susan Prior

Release Date: 26 October 2006 (Australia)

Budget: $(AU)4,000,000

Running Time: 95 minutes

Rating: MA

Awards:
2006 AFI Best Lead Actress- Emily Barclay
2006 AFI Best Original Music Score- Mick Harvey
2006 AFI Best Supporting Actor- Anthony Hayes
2006 IF Best Actress- Emily Barclay
2006 IF Best Editing- Stephan Evans
2006 IF Best Music- Mick Harvey
2006 ASSG- Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Design

Nominations:
2006 AFI Best Cinematography
2006 AFI Best Costume Design
2006 AFI Best Direction
2006 AFI Best Editing
2006 AFI Best Original Screenplay
2006 AFI Best Production Design
2006 AFI Best Sound
2006 AFI Best Supporting Actress- Genevieve Lemon
2006 IF Best Direction
2006 IF Best Feature Film
2006 IF Best Script

Interviews

Interview with Alice Bell (Screenplay), Paul Goldman (Director) and Emily Barclay (Katrina)
http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1756067.htm

Adalita (Musician in the movie’s soundtrack) talks about working with Mick Harvey.
http://www.amo.org.au/qa_interview.asp?id=1332

Reviews
There was very little information that could be found about this movie other than on the internet because it is still a new release, which is why most of my sources are from the internet.

Hall, Sandra. "Suburban Mayhem." The Sydney Morning Herald 28 Oct. 2006.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002574615
By: Kirk Honeycutt

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=12354&s=Reviews
By: Louise Keller and Andrew L Urban

http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2007/01/22/surburban_mayhem_2007_review.shtml
By: David Mattin

http://www.skymovies.com/skymovies/article/0,,-13554538,00.html
By: Elliot Noble

http://www.mediasearch.com.au/film/filmreviews/suburbanmayhem-filmreview
By: Carmine Pascuzzi

http://www.lumiere.net.nz/reader/item/832
By: Jacob Powell

http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1755542.htm
By: Margaret Pomeranz

http://lastnightwithriviera.blogspot.com/2006/07/aussie-winter-part-1-book-of.html
By: Matt Riviera

http://www.karateparty.org/content/view/662/49/
By: Jim Stanton

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=features2006&content=jump&jump=review&dept=cannes&nav=RCannes&articleid=VE1117930636&cs=1
By: Jay Weissberg

Online Presence

I found it somewhat difficult to gather a lot of “good” information in regards to Suburban Mayhem. They were plenty of reviews by audiences, but not much information from directors or other members of the cast. I also could not find information on how much money the film grossed. I believe this is because the film is rather new and was only shown in Australia, the UK, and Canada.
The websites that helped me to collect information on Suburban Mayhem were www.rottentomatoes.com and www.imdb.com . Through these sites is where I found all of the interviews and reviews on the film. Other sites were not useful. Even the movie’s website, www.suburbanmayhem.com , was not helpful. It only contained basic information about the movie such as photos, wallpapers and cast.

Part Two

Synopsis and Plot

            Katrina Skinner is the typical bad girl. She is a teenage mother who uses sex to get what she wants from men and is a master manipulator. She and her daughter live with her father, John Skinner. Her mother left the family many years ago and her brother, Danny, is in prison for murder. Katrina misses Danny a lot, and is trying to figure out a way to get him out of prison. Katrina also has a fiancé named Rusty who is no the father of her daughter, but treats her as though and takes much better care of her than Katrina.
            The movie starts out at the funeral of John Skinner, where we first see Katrina. Just from the first five minutes of the film you can tell she is a bad kid. She sits between her fiancé and child, and during the service gets a text message asking if Katrina would like to have sex. After the funeral it flashes back to Katrina and John living together at home. John give Katrina money for everything because she does not work. We watch Katrina spend her father’s money to get her nails done, buy cigarettes, and drive around. After awhile her father puts his foot down and says she must get a job and support herself. Katrina gets very angry and tries to figure out a way to get rid of her father so that she can get the family inheritance to help pay for her brother to get out of prison, and to help fund her jobless life.
            When Rusty says he will not help Katrina kill her father she decides to find another guy to do it for her. The guy she chooses was the accomplice to the murder her brother committed. Kenny is a man with mental issues. We first see him in his room coloring pictures of Satan. Kenny idolizes Katrina’s brother and she uses this to her favor. She tells him Danny says he’s a coward and things like that to make him want to prove her wrong. She also tells him she loves him and has sex with him so he will help her get rid of her father.
            By the end of the movie Katrina has made both of the guys mad and is not sure if anyone will kill her father for her. She also finds out that her brother does not want her to have her father killed, and is fine with staying in prison. She goes to bed and awakes when she hears the sound of someone beating her dad. Rusty has come to her rescue and nearly killed her dad, but he cannot finish the job. Luckily, Kenny comes in and finishes the job. He also is willing to admit to doing the murder so Katrina and Rusty can be together with the baby. The movie ends with Katrina being interviewed about her father’s murder and her life now.

Critical Review

            Suburban Mayhem is unlike any movie I have ever seen. When I picked the movie, I thought it would be somewhat sexual, but I was not prepared for the way that Katrina used sex and her body to get things from men. I felt this portion of the movie was very overdeveloped and that half of the scenes with Katrina doing sexual favors for men could have been cut out and the movie still would have had the same effect. If the writer wanted viewers to dislike Katrina, she did a very good job of making that happen. Katrina did not have one positive attribute; she was a horrible mother, daughter, friend and girlfriend. Also, all of the men in her life were unintelligent and easily manipulated. It was hard to like any of the characters, rather you felt sorry for all of them. I do give Alice Bell credit for originality, but I felt it hard to relate to any characters and I just was not drawn in by the movie. I also did not like the fact that Katrina got away with everything she did. The message of the movie seemed to be if you can use people you should.

Critical Uptake

            At the time of release Suburban Mayhem was pretty well received. Most reviewers from this time period seemed excited by the idea of the movie and rated it favorably. The movie was also very highly awarded at Australia’s award shows scoring 13 nominations and 7 wins. After the movie was released on video, it lost some of the steam from previous reviews and people seemed not as interested in it, but overall it seemed to do pretty well from what I can tell without seeing box-office figures. I believe that the uptake of this movie shows that Australians were at a time where they were looking for a high speed, entertaining movie with a lot of action. They weren’t looking for the average story about crime. They wanted something new and different and Suburban Mayhem is just that. Most crime stories do not revolve around a female or glorify sex as a way of manipulating men.
            The crew of Suburban Mayhem was mostly relatively inexperienced. Before Suburban Mayhem Paul Goldman had only directed two other movies, Australian Rules (2002) and The Night We Called it a Day (2003). None of these three films are alike. Australian Rules is about racial issues, while The Night We Called it a Day is about Frank Sinatra’s visit to Australia. Alice Bell, the writer, had never written a screenplay for a movie before. And while Jan Chapman had helped produce several movies before, she was only executive producer for one other movie, Somersault (2003). The only person who had a lot of experience was Robert Humphreys the cinematographer. He had done cinematography for 16 movies prior.

Suburban Mayhem in Relation to Australian Film

            Suburban Mayhem had a couple Australian qualities. Family was the main issue dealt with in the movie. The way Katrina’s father felt the need to care for her and her daughter is very Australian. He was willing to do almost anything for the two even after Katrina treated him horribly. The only reason he was getting harder on Katrina was to make her understand the importance of self-reliance and taking care of her child. Katrina was also very devoted to one family member besides herself, her brother. He was the only person in the entire movie that she seemed to actually care about. She was willing to have her father killed just so that she could get her brother out of prison and they could live together. Another theme prevalent in this movie that most Australian movies at least touch on is prison. Katrina’s brother was in prison for the whole movie and it showed her going to visit him.
Suburban Mayhem could belong to many genres. First of all it could be considered a crime movie because Katrina’s brother goes to prison for murder, and because Katrina convinces men to kill her father for her. Another genre it falls under is possibly the teenpic. This movie was probably best received by teenagers, and also talks about some problems that teens face such as: overbearing parents, sibling issues and teen pregnancy. One final genre is social realism. While the movie itself was not the most realistic film, it did deal with social problems like: juvenile delinquency, mental illness as a social problem and family tension.