(Written & Dir. by Brendan Cowell) (2015)
One gets the strong feeling that the writer and director thought of the name “Ruben Guthrie” first and couldn’t or wouldn’t let it go. The eponymous main character (played well by Patrick Brammall) is called by his full name more often than not in the short, slight 93 minutes of this first, clearly somewhat autobiographical, feature by Cowell. At first Ruben Guthrie suffers badly from the same problem as does Fury Road – male protagonist has model girlfriend. All she has to offer is looks. Insulting and annoying to this audience anyway.
Naturally Ruben Guthrie, our endearing but frivolous alcoholic advertising exec (really?) has a fling with the endearing (but not model-material) addict he meets at an addiction group.
So far, so predictable, and dull. But the film lifts several levels when Alex Dimitriades’ character (the somewhat satanic Damian) enters. Ruben Guthrie’s parents (Jack Thompson and Robyn Nevin) take on a rather sinster demeanour as enablers and deniers, and Ruben Guthrie’s otherwise easy ride though the early experimental days of sobriety becomes more like dragging himself through thick mud. The ending is great. Just great. See “Flight” and “The Lost Weekend” first though.