Movie Review by Susannah Macklin
Starring: Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton
Director: Rob Sitch
Back in the sixties, before they started beaming out bad soap operas via satellite, Australia had a dish with a real purpose, which, and this may come as a surprise to PRISONER CELL BLOCK H fans, was to help broadcast live footage from Neil Armstrong’s lunar mission back to millions of TVs world-wide. This is the story of how that was possible, and quite a captivating one at that!
Sam Neill heads up an excellent cast as Cliff Buxton the unassuming man ‘just doing his job’ managing a small team of reluctant heroes responsible for operating the 100 ton receiver based in a sheep paddock in Parkes. His fellow workers are having a hard enough time coping with everyday life in this small town, let alone the little matter of having to deal with NASA, a world, changing event and an astronaut they can’t quite keep tabs on.
It’s difficult to know where a story of this nature can go without crossing the line between fact and boredom, but this is a pretty funny, captivating film. The nonchalance and sheer naivety of some of those dealing with the potentially historical event raise its humour factor and make the story all the more endearing. The film succeeds, as do its characters, in its ability to roll along quite cheerily at this steady pace and not put on any airs and graces – a formula, which twins it with some of the more successful British comedies of recent times.
You can tell that THE DISH has come from a stable of experience, namely the writer/director/producer team behind award winning comedy THE CASTLE. But it still manages to avoid the contrived formula that more than often shows up in the ‘heart warming comedy’ sector.
THE DISH isn’t mind-blowing, multiplex stuff, but it is a decent film and ultimately deserves to be more than the video rental gem it may well end up as.