"Danny Deckchair" -- Excellent Movie

Fraggle Rocker

Staff member
This is really a nice movie to be able to go see in America right about now. An upbeat story with a happy ending. No explosions, nobody dies.

It's another of those movies that could only be made in Australia because if it were set here it just wouldn't be believable.

The protagonist is a cement worker in Sydney. Most of what he seems to do on the job is get stuck in traffic jams while driving a cement truck. He's been waiting all year to go on a nice quiet camping vacation with his girlfried. She cancels at the last moment to take an opportunity to sell a nice piece of real estate to a minor TV star and make googly eyes at him.

Longingly watching the airliners taking off in the distance while he's stuck planning a "barbie" for his friends who are nice enough but they're the same people he sees every day, he starts attaching helium balloons to his deckchair, idly wondering if he could get enough lift to raise himself off the ground. You can guess what happens next. (Actually I wonder if he accidentally filled them with hydrogen, considering the circumstances which finally bring him down.)

He lands in a remote little town from a storybook. Picturesque setting in a lush valley, citizens who don't lock their doors, a local political campaign with all the sophistication of the high school class president election. Remember now that he just came from the mad bustle of Sydney... the whole town is out for the most exciting day of the year: the annual macadamia nut harvest festival.

I haven't given anything away. The real fun starts here. From then on it becomes a mythical adventure but one that requires very little suspension of disbelief, a quest with no goal except personal growth. He touches the lives of everyone he meets, and always in a positive way. There's romance, there's intrigue, there's a motorcycle and even a helicopter. Hot damn, it's got everything except serious evil.

I was especially touched by the portrayal of Australians of European, Asian, and native ancestry living together in matter-of-fact friendship. I feel embarrassed to even mention race because it was so very much not an issue at all in the film.

It's been a long time since I've heard so much laughter in a movie theater, that didn't involve someone getting hurt. And except for the LOTR series, I don't know when I last heard a movie audience applaud when it was over.

This film is making its way slowly into the U.S. consciousness. It was made last year and it's just now starting to get reviewed in the major dailies -- rave reviews actually. I saw it in a theater that specializes in foreign and "art" films. If you don't have one of those where you live you may have to wait for it to come out on video. But try to catch it. Anyone who's ready for a respite of entertainment with no dark political subtext -- which by now is pretty much all of us Americans -- is ready for this movie.

May the goddess bless Australia. Every so often they produce a movie that just completely hits the spot.