Tomorrow When the War Began (12A)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Apr 5 2011John Marsden’s seven-book series starting with ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ has made him a cultural phenomenon in his native Australia, where he’s been voted the most popular living author. Anyone new to this story of provincial Aussie teens growing up fast after an enemy invasion should bear in mind that this opens a planned franchise from the million-selling novels. Otherwise, the risk is they’ll take one look, and think it’s merely ‘Home and Away’ meets ‘Red Dawn’. Not something many of us ever expected to see…
To be fair, the film hints at the material’s rich character-building potential, after a group of pals return from a weekend break to discover their coastal town under enemy control and soldiers firing at anything that moves. Protagonist Ellie (Caitlin Stasey) finds herself shocked by her own capacity for action and would-be alpha-male Kevin (Lincoln Lewis) crumbles in the circumstances, while Greek goofball Homer (Deniz Adkeniz) and homely churchgoer Robyn (Ashleigh Cummings) prove they’re made of sterner stuff. Although the decorative cast don’t plumb significant depths, there’s a vein of thoughtfulness running beneath the brazenly explosive action highlights and fist-pumping soundtrack, though the suspense does fall prey to some debilitating credibility issues. Who are these invaders? ‘The Coalition’ is an invented pan-Asiatic grouping aiming to knock Australia off top spot in the region. Or something. It’s very hard to buy the idea they can land thousands of troops without anyone noticing, and the film’s inconclusive ending (more episodes to come, obviously) compounds our frustration. Strange days indeed.
Author: Trevor Johnston