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Bran Nue Dae: movie review

An Aboriginal boy bolts from a boarding school and finds his way home with the help of some hobos and hippies in 'Bran Nue Dae,' based on a celebrated Australian musical.

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The celebrated 1990 Australian stage musical “Bran Nue Dae” has been transferred with no great distinction to the screen by director Rachel Perkins, but the film is a curiosity anyway. After all, how often in the movies do you get to see Aborigines dancing and cavorting and singing? Not that the dancing and cavorting and singing are all that good. Most of the time I felt like I was watching an exotic “Afterschool Special” on TV.

Young Willie (Rocky McKenzie), bolting from a Roman Catholic boarding school in 1969 Perth, hooks up with the hobo Uncle Tadpole (Ernie Dingo) and two white hippies (Missy Higgins, Tom Budge) and wends his way back home. As the boarding school honcho Father Benedictus, Geoffrey Rush chews so much scenery that he looks ready to burst. Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for sexual content and drug use.)


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