#63 / 365 – ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’ – 104 mins
Cinema Challenge #28 / 115
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Linton (Caitlin Stasey) goes on an idyllic camping trip with her school mates – Corrie (Rachel Hurd-Wood), Kevin (Lincoln Lewis), Fiona (Phoebe Tonkin), Homer (Deniz Akdeniz), Robyn (Ashleigh Cummings) and Lee (Chris Pang). Returning to their hometown, the teenagers discover something is seriously wrong. Power to the houses has been cut, pets and livestock have been left dead or dying and all the people have vanished. With a growing sense of unseen danger, the friends make a shocking discovery. The local showground has been turned into a prison camp and the town’s entire population are being held captive by a foreign military force. When the hostile invaders become alerted to the presence of the teenagers, Ellie and her friends – along with a new recruit Chris (Andy Ryan) – decide to fight back!
This was the first time in a long while that I have been into a film, totally blind, had never watched the trailer and briefly knew about its premise and only decided to watch it upon recommendation from a friend. Sprinkled with lots of references to other films, to me it most notability evoked memories of the 1982 film ‘Red Dawn’ and the brilliant BBC television series ‘Survivors’. Playing out this action film/coming-of-age story is an unknown young cast, where regular viewers (not me) will recognise some of the faces of ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Home and Away’ fame, where during some the early scenes they give off some decidingly dodgy acting which isn’t helped by its equally cliché and clunky dialogue.
Boasting some high-class cinematography of the vast openness of Australia and thrilling action set pieces (check the crucial and spectacular bridge scene) where at times you could be forgiven into thinking you were watching a Hollywood blockbuster. There’s a little dip in the storyline at times as first time director Stuart Beattie (writing credits include, ‘Pirates Of the Caribbean 1-3’ and ‘G.I Joe’) struggles to keep things real. Overall if you are looking for something different if not entirely original then ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’ is enjoyable and is certainly worth checking out even if doesn’t stay long in the memory after viewing it.