Two men, lost in the Australian desert, or are they? Hurtle (Gary Sweet), a tough Aussie bloke and ex-con, and Tahir (Hazem Shammas), a softly-spoken, Afghani-Australian, are exhaustyed and dehydrated as they stumble across Jen (Louise Crawford), a headstrong young American soldier guarding a remote military base at Emu Field while the other troops conduct joint exercises. In good faith, and against regulations, Jen offers to help Tahir and Hurtle. But when Tahir drops a GPS Unit from his pocket, it becomes clear that they're not lost, they're exactly where they planned to be. Tahir has promised Hurtle a share in a secret pile of gold supposedly abandoned after the war.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The Tumbler brings together several strands of a story web that includes past deeds done by or to the central characters, in a story that spins off into un unexpected direction. Digging up the past is the theme, in which the past requires retribution. In this case, the plot revolves around post war nuclear tests and how the two unlikely fellow travellers - motivated by their hidden agendas - arrive at an intersection of these agendas.
It's difficult not to give away some of the surprise elements while discussing the film; the plot brings together Hurtle (Gary Sweet), a tough Aussie bloke and ex-con with safe cracking expertise (hence 'Tumbler'), and Tahir (Hazem Shammas), a softly-spoken, Afghani-Australian. The latter has persuaded Hurtle to make a last ditch attempt at setting up for life with one last big job. When Tahir's hidden agenda emerges, Hurtle is at first furious at having been fooled.
In the middle is Jen (Louise Crawford) the US soldier with demons in her own recent past and who serves as the bouncing board for the information exchange. Gary Sweet delivers a credible tumble-lock expert with a laconic Aussie temperament - haunted by the manner of his father's death. Hazem Shammas makes Tahir sufficiently complex and credible to create interest and to give us insight into the kind of young men he represents.
Louise Crawford seems less secure in her role of the young US soldier but grows in confidence with the story and Suzannah-Bayes Morton has a small role as Nikki, the young indigenous outback postie who gets caught up in the drama.
The flashbacks are a little problematic in execution and the screenplay is trying to cover a wide range of themes (not always with complete success) but Benajmin Speed's score is restrained but effective in helping to underscore the film's tone.
First published in the Sun-Herald
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TUMBLER, THE (M)
CAST: Gary Sweet, Louise Crawford, Hazem Shammas, Suzannah Bayes-Morton, Scott Gooding, Rowena Lawrence, Timothy Walter, Samir Malik, Yolanda Shamroze, Nick Flint
PRODUCER: Marc Gracie, Stacey Testro
DIRECTOR: Marc Gracie
SCRIPT: Christopher Thompson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Justin Brickle
EDITOR: Philip Watts
MUSIC: Benjamin Speed
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sam MacLaren (costume & make up)
RUNNING TIME: 74 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Packscreen
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 2, 2010