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Les (John Brumpton) runs a pawn shop in Barkly Street, Footscray where “people come in bullshitting and leave pissed off”. Danny (Damian Hill, who wrote the script) is his put-upon assistant who takes every chance he gets to wander the streets hoping to see bookshop staffer Kate (Maeve Dermody), who just might feel the same way about him. There’s not much more plot-wise to this somewhat aimless day-in-the-life look at people doing it rough – a fair amount of screen time is spent with two junkies (Malcolm Kennard, Mark Coles Smith) as they hang out on the street – but strong performances keep the storylines engaging as they move towards generally predictable endings.

The ambiguity around some of the characters is also interesting: Les is a rough diamond who gleefully rips people off, a burly thug comes in threatening but ends up losing everything over and over again, and a junkie’s mother (a cameo from Kerry Armstrong) gets no closure. For good or ill there’s no sense of anyone (Danny and Kate aside) deserving their sometimes grim fates. It’s the kind of film championed by those who think film should reflect our lives back at us; those looking for a film that’ll help them escape their lives should look elsewhere.

Reviewed by Anthony Morris