Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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THREE DOLLARS

Starring: David Wenham and Frances O’Connor
Director: Robert Connolly
Rated: M15+

IN Three Dollars, Eddie Harnovey (David Wenham) is a 38 year-old, married father of one, whose life is falling apart.

We meet him on the day he is retrenched from his job as a chemical engineer within the Lands Department.

The film then flashes back to a few months earlier when Eddie got a new boss, and a new assignment to investigate the soil of a parcel of land up for redevelopment.

Within this flashback sequence there are even more flashbacks into how Eddie and wife Tanya (Frances O’Connor) met, married and had their daughter.

There are sub plots of Eddie’s other love interests, his boyhood and how he discovers that the soil he is investigating is contaminated.

Last year the film Tom White portrayed the meltdown of a middle-aged Australian man after he was retrenched from work. We can see similar themes in Three Dollars.

Three Dollars captures some laconic Australian dialogue very well, but the action is all too ponderous, and the symbols used within the film are too oblique.

At 119 minutes this script would have benefited from a ruthless revision.

Wenham and O’Connor give fine performances.

Wenham makes Eddie an entirely sympathetic character. He is accused by Tanya of being everyone’s messiah. He just seems a good samaritan to me.

O’Connor’s Tanya demonstrates her dramatic range, but the reasons for her turn toward depression and hysteria are never entirely convincing. The script, again, has to take the blame for this.

Three Dollars takes a domestic drama and then milks at for all it can. As a result we get tired of the many fights, intrigues, and threats to this delightful family’s happiness.

Less would have been immeasurably more.

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