Novelist Richard Somers (Friels) and his wife (Davis) abandon the emotional and cerebral sterility of Europe in the early '20s for a new life in Australia. The couple are quickly befriended by their neighbours in Sydney; and at first captivated by the Australian couple's openness and hospitality, Somers soon comes to suspect something lurking beneath the sugary surface. This adaptation of DH Lawrence's autobiographical novel (which he called his 'thought-adventure') faithfully re-examines the issue of authority as it exists on the personal and political level. Somers finds a fresh surface in his new world, but remains contemptuous of the colonial; caught between the conflicting attractions of the all-embracing love of 'Kangaroo' (leader of a paramilitary movement) and the fraternity of the trade unionists, he must simultaneously resolve the ambiguity of his relationship with his wife. Burstall's characters are well defined, his exotic settings beautifully photographed (in contrast with the grim depiction of England), yet the film as a whole seems encumbered with a forced vitality. The literary origins almost inevitably serve to constrict the action rather than offer a point of departure.
Cast and crew