Bikies are cool. They get to do all the cool stuff all the time. They get to shag and smoke cigarettes and drink bourbon for breakfast and ride motorcycles really fast while wearing tight black leather.
I wish I was a bikie.
Here the lifestyle is described well enough and while containing a few regular shaped bikie clichés, it does make its subtle point in true party-fuelled style. Bikie folk are just folks who don’t wanna be all conformist and afraid to live their lives – so they grab life by the hair and throw it into a window.
Mickey and Louise Savage are just like any regular couple who’ve been married for 20 years or so. They fight, they store stolen goods and they have a daughter desperate to ride the family motorcycle. They also have a son, Dean, who was nearly killed on that cycle six months ago. Since, Mickey has switched off, losing faith in everything he ever lived for and his wife is confused by his unwillingness to discuss his woes. So she threatens to leave.
|"In ten minutes the cops’ll be all over us like herpes on a half-price whore!"|
Mickey decides to take her on a second honeymoon, so with a caravan full of a friend’s stolen goods, they take off for the caravan park they’ve frequented since they were young and arrive to find the kids and Mickey’s mother Maisy have stowed away. Their lifestyle choices all heavily impact the new spruced up caravan park and its tenants and, before long, the Savages are causing all sorts of trouble. But are they? They seem to be creating more fun and releasing more people from the societal chains they wear. Meanwhile, as all this is going on, Mickey is finding it increasingly difficult to talk to Louise until she is tempted by an old friend who lives at the park.
While trying to throw a gentle light on what is to most a rougher lifestyle, the film does succeed in having likeable characters and a simple storyline, but sometimes tends to wander astray from the original premise. In this regard what had the opportunity to be a quite funny film has instead become belaboured by the indecisiveness of the writer/director Mark Beesley. In trying to bridge cultures here he hasn’t strictly gone one way or another, so the jokes (when they come) aren’t easily picked up on until they have passed. In the film dealing with a rather simplistic storyline and the inner workings of a dysfunctional family with a more light-hearted approach, there’s barely enough jokes to maintain the comedy angle, and not enough substance to generate interest in a drama. And so the film sits, perched precariously on a fence between the two.
And this is a shame because it does have bags of potential. However, I did enjoy it but not as much as I would have were it sculpted just a little more skilfully.
This film was made in 1999 and has been delivered here in the cinema aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with anamorphic enhancement. The innumerable blacks in the film (so much bikie leather) all come across naturally, as does the rest of the colour palette. Flesh tones are fine (including brief flirtations with nudity) and the picture quality is of a decent calibre. The only real issue with the film, and it is a fairly minor one, is in the mild grain on around half of the night shots (and there are plenty of ‘em). However, this isn’t huge and is barely noticeable to all but the most alert of viewers.
Dolby Digital stereo does the trick here and is a surprisingly good mix considering. While it does have moments of imbalance, most of the audio track is delivered with very nice clarity and resonance. The motorcycle noises in particular are truly above average here and sound brilliantly realistic.
Dialogue, as noted, gets a little overshadowed at times by the sound effects track, but generally is fairly well spoken and easily understood. There are some hefty swearing moments that the more delicate might wince at, but I imagine they’d probably be put off by the film’s content anyway. Music has been created for the movie by ‘Dean Savage’, a group brought together by the film and named duly. There are some nice supportive moments for the emotional bits with the standout being in the deeper cellos and orchestral moments in the latter half. Naturally, in a film about a bikie family, there are going to be plenty of metal-like tracks and classic sounds and here we receive a larger portion of the tracks from Head Like A Hole and Peter Frampton.
Resembling a foreign film from Europe entitled The Fleders at times, this is, however, an excursion into the bikie lifestyle New Zealand style. Nicholas Eadie wrestles with an accent for most of the film, but this can be overlooked readily enough. Capable performances come in from the rest of the cast in this fairly low budget affair that may have been a much better film if given its own head.
Still, I found it a charming film in its own way and worth checking out to see how good bikie life can get.