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Synopsis

Set in the early 1980s, after random breath testing has been introduced, Ronnie (Blade) Gillette, and his barmaid girlfriend Geraldine realise their nightclub is going broke. Afraid of driving under the influence, customers are not buying his grog instead they're going out to the car park to smoke dope. On top of that, the local cops also want their cut of the action. Like any good businessman, Blade realises he needs a strategy. He decides to grow his own crop as a way out of his financial hole. Diversify and expand - you beauty!

Review by Andrew L. Urban

Considerably better than several recent Australian comedies, The Crop is entertaining enough and succeeds on its own terms, as a crim-com with a recognisably Australian spirit of larrikinism, corrupt police and good hearted sheilas. Or at least one good hearted sheila, Holly Brisley's excellent creation of Geraldine, the girl who is a good mate in every sense to low key anti hero Blade. Kelly Butler's Jacki is not so good hearted, a shrieking mass of insecurities and jealousies who provides the running gag light relief as she imagines every woman stalking her boyfriend, Wack (Rhys Muldoon).

inlineGeorge Elliot, the writer of the script and driver of the project, is a self made man who raised the money for his film privately, and while he hasn't been able to afford major stars, he had the good sense to hire some darned good crew to make a film that has as much commercial prospect as any other Australian film of late. His performance as Blade is not half bad either, a muted characterisation that works by its understatement. The script, while never pushing the envelope of originality, has some effectively humorous lines of dialogue, and the structure is accessibly recognisable.

Old pros like Bruce Venables and Tony Barry earn their pay with characters that fill out their scripted limitations with acting muscle, while Vincent Stone's Dago is the handy wild card in the screenplay, the unpredictable element that carries the payoff.

Excellent camera work and a solid soundtrack (including a couple of songs performed by Elliot himself) give the film a polished feel. While never quite as funny as we might want, The Crop is notable for its pace and its controlled direction, mostly keeping the performances grounded in its own reality.

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