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The Night We Called It A Day
cast: Dennis Hopper, Melanie Griffith, Joel Edgerton, Portia de Rossi, and David Hemmings

director: Paul Goldman

97 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Universal DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
1970s' Australia: upstart music promoter Rod Blue (Joel Edgerton) hears that Frank Sinatra is going back on the road, and sees his chance to move into the big league. With the help of his nerdy but charming new employee Audrey (Rose Byrne), he fights off impending bankruptcy and persuades Sinatra to let him manage the Australian tour. But the great man isn't as easy to get along with as Rod had hoped. Soon he has insulted Rod's journalist fiancée, and hundreds of belligerent trade unions boycott the tour in defence of the honour of journalists (what a quaint notion). Soon Sinatra is besieged in his hotel room, eating cold baked beans in squalor, refusing to apologise, while Rod struggles to save the tour, and his business. But amongst all this, will he find time to acknowledge his increasing feelings for Audrey?

This is a prime example of the kind of quirky, warm-hearted film that the Australian film industry does so well, a comedy drama unashamedly revolving around the Australian love of bringing the proud down a peg or two. The outrageous events are leant some authority by Dennis Hopper's prickly, often unsympathetic Frank, and Melanie Griffith adds some glamour as kindly girlfriend Barbara. With an array of amusing supporting characters, great performances, and all the usual romantic complications, yet a surprisingly unpredictable plot, this film is a delight to watch. It even finds time for some gentle political satire - a future Australian Prime Minister turns out to have played an interesting role in events...

It's very hard to find anything wrong with this movie; fanatical Frank Sinatra fans might find its allusions to his mob connections insulting, and his detractors might consider it too soft on him, but as a work of entertainment, it's near perfect. Highly recommended.
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