Directed by: Peter Templeman
Written by: Michael Lucas
Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook, Ryan Corr, Bojana Novakovic and Laura Brent
Academy award nominated Australian short filmmaker Peter Templeman’s debut feature comedy sees nihilistic, playboy and party enthusiast Jonah (Ryan Kwanten) diagnosed with testicular cancer and no chance to freeze any of his seed for future parenting. With his inevitable (and life saving) operation to remove the cancerous testie approaching fast he goes on an unorthodox journey though past loves to see if someone can bear his child.
I admired Lucas and Templeman’s willingness to take us into the serious subject of testicular cancer and to muse on the desires of modern masculinity. Jonah’s Kwanten is the hapless antithesis of a fatherly prospect. There’s an elemental desperation in Jonah that’s echoed in his fruitless pursuits through hordes of exes for a child bearing mate. Kwanten’s performance is really against type – in that it requires him strip away a lot of his likeable characteristics – natural magnetism and charm to get to the point that the deluded tunnel vision of Jonah’s quest. Despite an accomplished performance from Kwanten, Sarah Snook (Sister’s of War, Sleeping Beauty) was the highlight of the film for me. Her Stevie demonstrated a staggering range in a deliberate performance that negotiated its way from what’s initially a background character to the focal prism that we view Jonah’s character and quest. Finally Bojana Novakovic (Burning Man) is an actress that becomes so unrecognisable in every character that I just sit aghast and impressed at her performances in any capacity.
Templeman’s impression of Sydney’s Inner West pulsates with vitality. The main Victorian house location, the tree-lined streets, Graffiti covered walls and the murmur of the streets is a lively backdrop to the proceedings. He contrasts an intimate fluid perspective following Jonah’s wild lifestyle, with a cold detachment in the wake of his bad news. And it’s worth mentioning that Not Suitable has one of the best soundtracks (featuring The Black Keys, Husky, Mammals and Gorillaz) that I’ve heard for a long time.
Not Suitable For Children is a refreshingly solid and raw Australian ‘dramedy’ that delivers poignant characters and relieving laughs while highlighting our fragile and absurdly fleeting existence.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Not Suitable For Children is released in Australia on July 12th 2012.
Not Suitable For Children is opening the Sydney Film Festival and is screening on:
Sat 9 Jun 4:00 PM Event Cinemas George Street 4 – purchase tickets here.