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ANGST

SYNOPSIS:
Dean (Sam Lewis) is an aspriring screenwriter, works in a video store and is angst-ridden about his failure in relationships, especially as his last girlfriend, Jade (Jessica Napier) told him he was lousy in bed. One of his customers, the goth girl, May (Abi Tucker) becomes an unlikely friend, while his other friend Ian (Justin Smith) works in a Kings Cross adult bookshop, which a street kid attempts to rob with a fake gun. He turns out to be not-so-bad Mole (Luke Lennox) whose next move is to steal the VCR…

"Audiences outside the 15-25 age bracket Angst is squarely aimed at won't find much to take away from this disappointingly familiar tale of twenty-somethings attempting to find love and happiness in between cappuccinos and horror videos. The 23 year-old former video store worker Anthony O'Connor's script admits to being about cliches but sadly does nothing to subvert them as the uninteresting central story of Sam's quest for happiness unfolds. Clunky, self-conscious dialogue dooms this attempt at gritty and witty grunge which strives for that indefinable "edge" that makes this type of fare click. Unfortunately it comes up blunt. Sam and his story might be boring but there is some compensation in the characters of Ian who's caught between westie culture and inner city groove, cheeky street kid Mole who evokes sympathy and Jade whose attempts to rid herself of a cardigan-wearing boyfriend are amusing until a silly argument about cat visitation rights undoes the good work. Debutant director Daniel Nettheim has made short films indicating much more promise than what's ended up here. Hopefully he will find more substantial subject matter in the future. This may find an audience with the age group it has been tailor made for but Angst has the aura of trying too hard to do it all right and getting it mostly wrong in the process."
Richard Kuipers

"You can see from the way it's written that Angst would be a tantalising screenplay, with its hand on the youth pulse, its setting of Sydney's cosmopolitan Kings Cross, it's characters searching for their slot in the race track of life . . . But you can also see that it's still an immature script (in both senses) and needs a guiding hand to realise its potential. It is also a wordy script, which is a big challenge for first time filmmakers, prone to turgid patches and lack of energy, boring dynamic. It has comic intentions, but the comedy is limited and blunted by the film's inability early on to engage us with the characters. On the other hand, Justin Smith, Abi Tucker and Jessica Napier display their innate talents by working their roles into something credible and interesting. In short, the ideas in the script, and its sense of fun, are somehow buried in the film. It may, of course, work as a date movie, as couples will not be riveted to the screen, able to concentrate on their real objectives, undistracted by the film - which they can return to periodically."
Andrew L. Urban

"The premise shows promise – lonely, sexually frustrated young man becomes introspective and depressed when his girlfriend dumps him. He is writing a screenplay in his spare time, using the colour from his video shop work environment to spark ideas. The screenplay teases, but doesn't quite engross us, failing to make the characters real or textured enough to hold our interest. Dean longs for responsible-free sex, facial hair and hedonism. Jade has her hair dyed green – presumably to match her name. Much of the film is set at night in the sleaze of Kings Cross, and while the target teen market may relate to the setting and get a few laughs from some of the dialogue and situations, Angst is a frustrating journey. In some ways it gives a good slice-of-life view of carefree youth, yet the lack of dynamics and structure in the script let it down badly. Performances are excellent – Jessica Napier has great screen presence as does Abi Tucker while Sam Lewis captures the frustrations to a tee. My biggest frustration was that I really didn't care enough for the characters. When Dean meets up with his internet blind date and finds himself in a coffee shop with two twelve year olds, this situation holds enough promise to make you squeal with delight. But when his precocious date flings a milk shake all over him, we not only fail to see the action, due to a questionable choice of direction, but also fail to sympathise with him in any way. The title is deserving of a more emotional response."
Louise Keller

"Like beauty, angst is often in the eye of the beholder. What to one person may be a major life crisis can be little more than a trivial inconvenience to someone else. Daniel Nettheim’s Angst follows the lives of four post-teen, pre-20 somethings searching for their place in the world. Their search revolves around money, jobs, drugs, sex, booze and pop culture. The trouble is the characters’ fumbling attempts to come to terms with these things will probably seem rather juvenile - petty even - for anyone who’s been around the block a few times. As a result, a number of scenes lack spark, and it becomes difficult to fully empathise with the characters. Still, there are things to like about Angst. There are moments of snappy dialogue, likeable humour and shrewd social observations; and the film has an appealingly grungy look, in keeping with its Kings Cross locale. Sam Lewis imbues Dean with just the right mix of depressed ennui and mischievous cheekiness. He’s a smart arse with a heart. Jessica Napier is strong as Jade; although her character becomes lost amidst Dean’s increasingly desperate efforts to find what he seeks. But I just didn’t buy Justin Smith as Ian, the "westie" looking to make it in the city. His near faultless diction and baby-faced looks (both assets for an actor, I hasten to add) conspire against his character’s believability. Abi Tucker is much more credible as May and proceeds to dominate just about every scene in which she appears. In the end, Angst is an uneven youth film but it shows enough to mark Nettheim as a director to watch."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 3
Mixed: 1

Andrew L. Urban goes ON SET

TRAILER

ANGST (M)
(Australia)

CAST: Sam Lewis, Jessica Napier, Justin Smith, Abi Tucker, Luke Lennox

DIRECTOR: Daniel Nettheim

PRODUCER: Jonathon Green

SCRIPT: Anthony O'Connor

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tristan Milani

EDITOR: Martin Connor

MUSIC: David Thrussell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tara Kamath

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 31, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures

VIDEO RELEASE: February 7, 2001







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