Mr Reliable

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Recently released from prison, Wally Mellish (Friels) drives back into Sydney in the long hot summer of 1968. Having fallen for spunky single parent Beryl (McKenzie), Wally wins praise for his home-building skills in sleepy Glenfield, until he lets off a warning shotgun blast at a cop, who is hounding him unnecessarily, and finds himself at the centre of a lengthy siege - an open-air concert of emergency police squads, sniper units, back-up reserves with canteen facilities, journalists, camps of spectators, barbecue stalls - which becomes nationwide news. Ordinary and none too bright Wally may be, but his tenacity, self-awareness and inventive, if unconventional, manner make him suitable material for the media to fashion into a people's hero. An excess of nostalgic affection for the Australian Summer of Love results in a slight archness; and despite Friels' sympathetic performance and some engaging cameos (notably Sonkkila's sublimely second-rate Police Commissioner), a fluid pace and deft comic touches, the film ends up somewhat overloaded with whimsy and benevolence.

By: WH

Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Nadia Tass
Screenwriter: Don Catchlove, Terry Hayes
Cast: Colin Friels
Jacqueline McKenzie
Paul Sonkkila
Frank Gallacher
Lisa Hensley
Aaron Blabey
Geoff Morrell
Neil Fitzpatrick