Reviews

  • Oct 25, 2020

    Just magnificent. The movie adaptation of David Williamson's iconic play set in an Aussie Rules club (never named but clearly Collingwood) captures all of the raw emotion and intrigue of the written word. Jack Thompson's take on the embattled coach Laurie Holden is timeless - playing the frustration with his star recruit beautifully against the realisation the Board is out for his blood. Frank Wilson as Jock Riley is brilliant as the conniving former coach and club games record holder who is out to sabotage Laurie at every turn with able assistance from Alan Cassell's Gerry as the club administrator. Graham Kennedy is the surprise as club president Ted Parker. The iconic Australian comedy legend is the one character in the movie to have no comedic lines at all and delivers a brilliant performance as the businessman who has seen every game the club has played since he was 6 but is about to be brutally forced out of his job by the board. John Howard's first major role as star recruit Geoff Hayward is a great start to his career as he captures the arrogance of the character yet redeems himself entirely by the end. Howard Hopkins as fading club captain Danny Rowe is one of his best roles as he realises his playing career is coming to an end while he bleeds for his club. The movie loses half a star for some of the laughably bad action sequences with game scenes clearly having cardboard cutouts in the audience and Thompson - who is playing a 279 game player yet has one of the oddest handball and kicking styles you will see - and Hopkins struggling with the football moves but put those aside and this is the best of Williamsón's movie adaptations. Settle in for a fantastic ride that will leave you cheering at the end.

    Just magnificent. The movie adaptation of David Williamson's iconic play set in an Aussie Rules club (never named but clearly Collingwood) captures all of the raw emotion and intrigue of the written word. Jack Thompson's take on the embattled coach Laurie Holden is timeless - playing the frustration with his star recruit beautifully against the realisation the Board is out for his blood. Frank Wilson as Jock Riley is brilliant as the conniving former coach and club games record holder who is out to sabotage Laurie at every turn with able assistance from Alan Cassell's Gerry as the club administrator. Graham Kennedy is the surprise as club president Ted Parker. The iconic Australian comedy legend is the one character in the movie to have no comedic lines at all and delivers a brilliant performance as the businessman who has seen every game the club has played since he was 6 but is about to be brutally forced out of his job by the board. John Howard's first major role as star recruit Geoff Hayward is a great start to his career as he captures the arrogance of the character yet redeems himself entirely by the end. Howard Hopkins as fading club captain Danny Rowe is one of his best roles as he realises his playing career is coming to an end while he bleeds for his club. The movie loses half a star for some of the laughably bad action sequences with game scenes clearly having cardboard cutouts in the audience and Thompson - who is playing a 279 game player yet has one of the oddest handball and kicking styles you will see - and Hopkins struggling with the football moves but put those aside and this is the best of Williamsón's movie adaptations. Settle in for a fantastic ride that will leave you cheering at the end.

  • Jan 08, 2014

    While rather dated, it is still ends up being a fairly interesting look at the machinations within one of Australia's main religions - football.

    While rather dated, it is still ends up being a fairly interesting look at the machinations within one of Australia's main religions - football.

  • Dec 27, 2012

    Being a popular Australian classic directed by Bruce Bereseford, The Club sounded like a hopeful film. I always found it strange that there was little in Australian cinema to explore our national love of the Australian Football League, so the fact that The Club exists as the most notable film to deal with the sport is just terrific. The film itself is not perfect, but the world does need a film about AFL. It doesn't deal with the sport in the way you might hope because it is not a sports movie, it is a comedy-drama adapted from a play in the same manner as Bruce Beresford's previous feature Don's Party. But still, it captures the spirit of the game through some entertaining football sequences and the use of Mike Brady and Peter Sullivan's iconic Australian song Up There Cazaly at multiple points in the narrative. The film is focused more on the characters and the politics behind the game and incurs a lot of talking as a result, as well as the fact that it stays limited to few settings. But that is expected as an adaptation of a play, and with the amount of charm in the feature being so effective there is little to complain about. The Club is not as funny as Don's Party, but it carries the spirit of the source material to the screen very well thanks to effective work from Bruce Beresford. Shooting the film on location but within a limited context, The Club both maintains the spirit of the play that it is adapted from and the production values of a film which feels very legitimate. But more importantly, Bruce Beresford carries over the nature of David Williamson's play with a script which knows what to do. The screenplay is great. The Club features a story with interesting characters. Though they are occasionally a distraction from the bigger picture in terms of the actual game of AFL, they are all interesting figures whose personalities draw the viewers in and then capture their interest with the relationships they share. They are built on the basis of dialogue which is packed with realistic Aussie slang which makes the situations seem all the more realistic as well as getting audiences to laugh at several language quips at different times. The language in the script maintains the satirical nature of the play while remembering to maintain its dramatic themes very well. It may so full of dialogue that the feature moves along at a rather slow rate, but the characters remain interesting and the film goes between comedy and drama well. In this sense, the satirical nature of the film ensures that it is a lighthearted drama, and though it may not be as funny today as it once was due to being a dated film, it is clearly a feature which is full of passionate Aussie charm which should really capture the hearts of patriotic viewers and fans of AFL. It certainly sucked me in, but at the same time I admired the competent nature of the way the film looked at the politics behind the sport of Australian Rules Football and examined all the backstabbing and manipulation that goes on between people. The film makes a nice contrast between the people structuring AFL and the people playing for it in terms of their intentions and their approaches, reflecting the way that sports are a game of passion and politics. The balance between this and general humour in the film makes for a joyful experience with a sense of nostalgia to it, and even though it may not have the burning heart of a sports film, there is certainly a sense of passion for what AFL means to the characters which is explored through the drama in the story. Frankly, The Club really maintains an effective script which carries the material well from play to cinema, and it is easy to see why people would hail it as an Aussie classic. The characters of the film all line up very well with the cast who make talented efforts to really deliver their best. Jack Thompson is the standout cast member in The Club. Portraying determined but conflicted coach Laurie Holden, Jack Thompson puts a spirited amount of energy into his role which combines a sense of lighthearted comedic spirit with a real sense for the character's drama. His burning passion for the film, his ability to really grasp the nature of the subject matter without going overboard and the fact that he can do all this while balancing it with a light touch of comedy really makes for an entertaining performance. His chemistry with John Howard is the finest element he adds because the coach-player relationship that they share progresses really well in the film. Both deliver powerful performances, and though John Howard does a really effective dramatic job, it is Jack Thompson who is both equally dramatic and funny which makes him the best cast member. Graham Kennedy is the other standout cast member in The Club. It is never easy to fully determine whether the character is a fully likable one due to the complicated nature of the subject matter he encounters, but either way Graham Kennedy puts enough heart into the role to leave viewers sympathising for him as the drama catches up with the character. Graham Kennedy has his funny moments, but the dramatic impact of his role is what really proves important which he achieves through grasping his role with tenacity and engaging with the other cast members with everything he's got. Frank Wilson has his charms about him, and both Alan Cassell and Harold Hopkins make an effort to pull their weight. So The Club is a dated film which is rather slow in parts, but with Bruce Beresford's fine directorial work and the powerful performances from the talented cast, the spirit of Fred Williamson's script is transferred to the screen with all the drama and comedy necessary to entertain.

    Being a popular Australian classic directed by Bruce Bereseford, The Club sounded like a hopeful film. I always found it strange that there was little in Australian cinema to explore our national love of the Australian Football League, so the fact that The Club exists as the most notable film to deal with the sport is just terrific. The film itself is not perfect, but the world does need a film about AFL. It doesn't deal with the sport in the way you might hope because it is not a sports movie, it is a comedy-drama adapted from a play in the same manner as Bruce Beresford's previous feature Don's Party. But still, it captures the spirit of the game through some entertaining football sequences and the use of Mike Brady and Peter Sullivan's iconic Australian song Up There Cazaly at multiple points in the narrative. The film is focused more on the characters and the politics behind the game and incurs a lot of talking as a result, as well as the fact that it stays limited to few settings. But that is expected as an adaptation of a play, and with the amount of charm in the feature being so effective there is little to complain about. The Club is not as funny as Don's Party, but it carries the spirit of the source material to the screen very well thanks to effective work from Bruce Beresford. Shooting the film on location but within a limited context, The Club both maintains the spirit of the play that it is adapted from and the production values of a film which feels very legitimate. But more importantly, Bruce Beresford carries over the nature of David Williamson's play with a script which knows what to do. The screenplay is great. The Club features a story with interesting characters. Though they are occasionally a distraction from the bigger picture in terms of the actual game of AFL, they are all interesting figures whose personalities draw the viewers in and then capture their interest with the relationships they share. They are built on the basis of dialogue which is packed with realistic Aussie slang which makes the situations seem all the more realistic as well as getting audiences to laugh at several language quips at different times. The language in the script maintains the satirical nature of the play while remembering to maintain its dramatic themes very well. It may so full of dialogue that the feature moves along at a rather slow rate, but the characters remain interesting and the film goes between comedy and drama well. In this sense, the satirical nature of the film ensures that it is a lighthearted drama, and though it may not be as funny today as it once was due to being a dated film, it is clearly a feature which is full of passionate Aussie charm which should really capture the hearts of patriotic viewers and fans of AFL. It certainly sucked me in, but at the same time I admired the competent nature of the way the film looked at the politics behind the sport of Australian Rules Football and examined all the backstabbing and manipulation that goes on between people. The film makes a nice contrast between the people structuring AFL and the people playing for it in terms of their intentions and their approaches, reflecting the way that sports are a game of passion and politics. The balance between this and general humour in the film makes for a joyful experience with a sense of nostalgia to it, and even though it may not have the burning heart of a sports film, there is certainly a sense of passion for what AFL means to the characters which is explored through the drama in the story. Frankly, The Club really maintains an effective script which carries the material well from play to cinema, and it is easy to see why people would hail it as an Aussie classic. The characters of the film all line up very well with the cast who make talented efforts to really deliver their best. Jack Thompson is the standout cast member in The Club. Portraying determined but conflicted coach Laurie Holden, Jack Thompson puts a spirited amount of energy into his role which combines a sense of lighthearted comedic spirit with a real sense for the character's drama. His burning passion for the film, his ability to really grasp the nature of the subject matter without going overboard and the fact that he can do all this while balancing it with a light touch of comedy really makes for an entertaining performance. His chemistry with John Howard is the finest element he adds because the coach-player relationship that they share progresses really well in the film. Both deliver powerful performances, and though John Howard does a really effective dramatic job, it is Jack Thompson who is both equally dramatic and funny which makes him the best cast member. Graham Kennedy is the other standout cast member in The Club. It is never easy to fully determine whether the character is a fully likable one due to the complicated nature of the subject matter he encounters, but either way Graham Kennedy puts enough heart into the role to leave viewers sympathising for him as the drama catches up with the character. Graham Kennedy has his funny moments, but the dramatic impact of his role is what really proves important which he achieves through grasping his role with tenacity and engaging with the other cast members with everything he's got. Frank Wilson has his charms about him, and both Alan Cassell and Harold Hopkins make an effort to pull their weight. So The Club is a dated film which is rather slow in parts, but with Bruce Beresford's fine directorial work and the powerful performances from the talented cast, the spirit of Fred Williamson's script is transferred to the screen with all the drama and comedy necessary to entertain.

  • Nov 05, 2011

    This is the only movie to feature my beloved team the mighty Collingwood Football Club, so that alone gets it a pass mark. It also features Aussie legends Graham Kennedy and Jack Thompson. It was one of a handful of movie roles for Kennedy, who made his name as a TV personality, and it's a shame because he really was a good actor. Unfortunately the match sequences aren't much due to a small budget but it's primarily a drama. There's also pot smoking scene that's worth the admission price alone. This is a film that won't be to everyone taste but if you're a Collingwood supporter or someone from outside Australia who wants to get an inside view of Australian culture then The Club is well worth watching.

    This is the only movie to feature my beloved team the mighty Collingwood Football Club, so that alone gets it a pass mark. It also features Aussie legends Graham Kennedy and Jack Thompson. It was one of a handful of movie roles for Kennedy, who made his name as a TV personality, and it's a shame because he really was a good actor. Unfortunately the match sequences aren't much due to a small budget but it's primarily a drama. There's also pot smoking scene that's worth the admission price alone. This is a film that won't be to everyone taste but if you're a Collingwood supporter or someone from outside Australia who wants to get an inside view of Australian culture then The Club is well worth watching.

  • Mar 28, 2010

    Really good funny movie. You don't just have to be a Collingwood supporter to find it funny.

    Really good funny movie. You don't just have to be a Collingwood supporter to find it funny.

  • Jun 17, 2008

    Great Aussie film, with very funny moments, and a good story.

    Great Aussie film, with very funny moments, and a good story.

  • Mar 16, 2008

    pretty entertaining, especially the bit about the sister without legs and the mother... hash....very aussie (whatever that is)

    pretty entertaining, especially the bit about the sister without legs and the mother... hash....very aussie (whatever that is)

  • Mar 15, 2008

    Interesting if dated look at the machinations of an aussie rules footy club.

    Interesting if dated look at the machinations of an aussie rules footy club.

  • Feb 04, 2008

    Solid Australian film laced with dry humour and great performances especially from Thompson and Kennedy. Great look at the politics of sport.

    Solid Australian film laced with dry humour and great performances especially from Thompson and Kennedy. Great look at the politics of sport.

  • Jan 14, 2008

    Great Aussie film about Aussie Rules and everything that revolves around the club.

    Great Aussie film about Aussie Rules and everything that revolves around the club.