It was an amazing year for Australian Cinema, with each film I saw knocking it out of the park. There were intimate documentaries, films that held up a mirror to society, and those that brought the action to a new level. In this list, we will be looking more at the locally made Australian productions/co-productions and not films filmed in Australia.
So without further ado, these are the best of Australian Cinema in 2019. Be warned that there will be some big spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banner to go to the full reviews.
TL;DR – A powerful and deeply compelling film that explores a key moment in Australia’s military history and the cost it took.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a credit sequence and a mid-credit scene
Australia has a long history of making truly excellent war films. From works
such as the pivotal Gallipoli to Beneath Hill 60 to The Rats of Tobruk and many more. So walking in I knew that there
was a level of quality that was going to be there no matter what. However, for
me, I can either be drawn in fully to war film or I can bounce off it like Andy
Dwyer off an ambulance, so there was still a little hesitation. But I should
not have been concerned because this is some of the best of Australian cinema
at the moment.
So to set the scene, it is 1966 and it is the height of the Vietnam War, a Cold
War proxy conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union played out in the
context of a civil war between North and South Vietnam. The 1st
Australian Task Force headed by Brigadier David Jackson (Richard Roxburgh) is
set up in Nui Dat where they send patrols out into the local countryside. One
night the camp is attacked by mortars and while the Royal Regiment of New
Zealand Artillery were able to target them, the 1st Field Regiment, need to
follow up the next day to find the source. Alpha Company didn’t find much, so
part in punishment Harry Smith’s (Travis Fimmel) Delta Company was sent out to
chase them down while a musical performance was happening back at camp. All was
going well until at the rubber plantation at Long Tan the 11th
Platoon of D Company came under heavy fire and it is soon discovered that this
is not just a raiding party but a full battalion of the North Vietnamese Army
heading their way, 100 men against and advance of 2000 and a monsoon is just
about to hit.