Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Australia, 2000. Working Dog, Distant Horizon, Dish Film Ltd., The Dish Film Productions. Screenplay by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch. Cinematography by Graeme Wood. Produced by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Michael Hirsh, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch. Music by Edmund Choi. Production Design by Carrie Kennedy. Costume Design by Kitty Stuckey. Film Editing by Jill Bilcock. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
Engaging comedy set in a tiny hamlet in Australia in 1969. Residents of this peaceful place feel like monarchs for a day when NASA announces they require Australia’s only giant satellite dish (which is located in the middle of a sheep paddock) for help in recording the progress of the first mission to the moon whenever the Earth has turned the United States away from actual view of it. In the vein of films like The Full Monty, the film gets its laughs from having us experience the big lives of small people, and for the most part the humour works. Sam Neill gives a warm performance as the mission leader, and the climax with Neil Armstrong’s actual landing on the moon will make you nostalgic for the real moment, even if you weren’t even there.