PAWNO: Generosity In A Time of Ultra-Capitalism

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Film Review by Henry Shires

Australia’s (and St Kilda’s – given that the director has lived here many years) bright and wonderful new film PAWNO has arrived.

No gratuitous sex for those of you who are dyslexic porn fans, I’m afraid. But, instead, what has surely got to be the brightest, most heartfelt, delicately and delightfully constructed contemporary Australian screen stories to come out of the somewhat inconsistent and often overhyped Australian film industry. At least since the excellent and sharing a lead actor, Last Cab to Darwin.

Pawno is not, before the primarily parochial types amongst you get too excited, a St Kilda Film – even though the director, Paul Ireland, very much is…a St Kilda (old) boy.

Instead it is firmly filmed and set in what must surely be the best suburb in Melbourne to represent, in microcosm, the multicultural – and also the plurality of sexuality and gender and diversity that exist in our fair and proud –and ultimately 100% pure refugee – country. Whether the (Un)Liberals and (Un)Nationals who currently run the ship like it or not.

Fabulous Footscray!

So there’s this bloke (whose played by the wonderfully matured Bryan Brown alike, John Brumpton, who was one of Russell Crowe’s co-skinheads, way back in Romper Stomper). And he runs a Pawn Shop in Footscray. And the other dozen or so characters drift in and out of it, bringing each other’s lives and loves.

Nothing apocalyptic happens. No terrorist attack. Not even one single zombie. Though there are at least a couple of characters who are a bit too dumb, or at least emotionally shell shocked, for their own good.

However, despite having a (emotional spoiler alert) happy, not to say even incurably romantic, ending, what you learn, feel and are able to laugh about (hopefully despite you own peculiar predicaments in life) are such eternals as:

Love can overcome all, even the inevitable perishing of the flame of personal existence.

And that generosity, even in a time of ultra-Capitalism, still pays significant dividends.

12 STARS (because every one of the central characters in this film is a star in their own right).






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