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Sunday, 2 November 2008


There's a fine line between teen angst and being a dickhead and Jesse (Lachlan Buchanan) wanders across it a little too often for Newcastle’s good. Sure, he’s got a lot of problems on his plate. There's his older brother Victor (Reshad Strik) who's moved back home (and turned into a bully) after his pro surfing career ended; a younger brother (Xavier Samuel) everyone calls "Fag-us" (instead of Fergus) because, well, he's clearly gay; and dreams of surfing stardom that’re dashed when he fails to deliver the goods at a qualifying meet. But while everyone else (even the thuggish older brother) gradually develops int a slightly rounded character Jesse remains an angry dickhead, stomping around sulking and moaning and abusing everyone around him. Even when he and his buddies (plus Fergus) go on a camping trip to an isolated surf spot and he finally gets to score with his hot girlfriend he just ends up with even more to be angry about... though this time he has a pretty good reason. Newcastle is well shot (especially in the surf sequences), the cast are convincingly awkward and director Dan Castle’s script certainly has a decent movie buried in there... somewhere. It's probably one about the homosexual awakening of Fergus (easily the most likeable character in the film), as the countless butt shots, the tanned and shirtless cast (the lead doesn’t wear a shirt for the first half-hour of the film - sure, he’s a surfer, but can you name a non-porn film where a female lead wears a bikini for a solid half-hour of camera time?) and the all-male skinny dipping scenes this is one of the gayest “straight” films in recent memory. As it stands, unless you're a huge surfing fan you can keep driving past Newcastle.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #440)