Review and Interview: The Nothing Men (2010)

| 23 August , 2010 | 1 Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Directed by: Mark Fitzpatrick
Starring: David Field, Martin Dingle Wall, Colin Friels

Set in a factory due to be shut down, six factory workers who are awaiting their redundancy package become suspicious at the arrival of the new worker. Fearing that they will be fired prior to receiving their payout, the men attempt to suppress their usual habits and behaviors, making for an explosively tense final week.

This is a powerful and at times jarring film. It touches on a myriad of issues that delve deep into the troubled lives of these men, grappling powerfully with a range of themes – from grief, to aggression, to violence, depression, prejudice, drug and alcohol abuse, to a complete breakdown of self worth. It shows a rare exploration of a crisis of masculinity in a modern blue collar existence.

I spoke with Director Mark Fitzpatrick about the challenges and creative triumphs of bringing such a confronting Australian film to life within the constraints of a low budget.

Where did the story idea originate from?

Mark: About 16 years ago I was watching the news and there was a story about workers having been made redundant, sitting around, playing cards and essentially wasting their days as they awaited their payout. They weren\’t allowed to work and I thought there was a powerful story in that.

Was it a difficult film to get made?

Mark: The film was originally written as a play and it played in a small theatre in Newtown in the hope that it would attract funding. It has had 5 different producers and finally Martin Dingle Wall said, ‘let\’s do it\’. He\’s been fantastic to work with.

The film touches on so many powerful areas, was this your intention?

Mark: I wanted first and foremost to show what we could do on a low budget. How we could bring to life these issues and explore the turning points. I wanted to affect people without getting moralistic. These issues are very relevant today, there are people caught in the system, stuck in these workshops, going postal. The film deals with what could happen – I wanted us to think about how we treat each other.

How has this very Australian depiction of masculinity been received overseas?

Mark: Surprisingly, it\’s women who have really responded well to the film. We screened the film at the Indian Film Festival and received two standing ovations, which was incredible. The Indian women were quiet at first, but then we realised that they had tears streaming down their face, and then came the applause. It was a powerful response. LA audiences have responded equally well, which has also lead to further opportunities.

Not since Romper Stomper has an Australian film offered such a poignant insight into a home grown subculture that is so deeply troubled. Ladies, don\’t be deterred by the overtly masculine feel of this film, it\’s got a truly affecting emotional core.

The Nothing Men is now showing in limited release.

Keeva

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  1. The Nothing Men (2010) | All Films Blog | 30 June , 2011

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