BEYOND MY REACH
Australia, 1990, 90 minutes, Colour.
Terri Garber, David Roberts, Nicholas Hammond.
Directed by Dan Burstall.
Beyond My Reach was written by Frank Howson, the director of Boulevard Films, responsible for such features as Boulevard of Broken Dreams, What the Moon Saw, Hunting. Boulevard Films was a self-supporting company, not relying on Government or Film Commission finance - and with outlets for exhibition in the US. Their products were generally glossy, anchored in Australia - but with an international flavour. This film was directed by Dan Burstall, the cinematographer.
It is brief, well cast, well acted and interesting - with comment on the Australian Film Industry, the enticement of the U.S., Australian naivety against American shrewd know-how and finance. It also pokes fun at the American film industry with a parody of Rambo and Terminator, Viperman. It highlights what happens when an Australian sells his soul for American success. The film has brief running time, is attractively photographed in Panavision and is a neat entertainment with popular comment on the Australian experience.
1. Entertaining drama? Australian flavour? The world of film making, Australia, the US and the contrast?
2. The panavision photography, the musical score and songs - and themes? The Melbourne settings, the city, the world of television production? The contrast with Los Angeles and the collage of sightseeing and the lyrics of the song? The world of film making Australian and American style? New York, an authentic atmosphere?
3. The title, the reference to Chris, his Australian experience, reaching out for American Success and its repercussions?
4. The portrait of Chris: waking, the phone call from America, treating it as a joke? His directing the soap opera for television, his own reactions, the cast? His long friendship with Alex, their plan? The truth about the US, Terri and her arrival and her not being the expected wheeler dealer? The discussions about the deal, Alex and his seeming capitulation, Chris's reaction? The bond with Terri the decision to go to Los Angeles? The Los Angeles tour and its effect on the Australians? The discussions with Steve, his know-how, the contract - the signing, the re-editing and re-cutting? The marketing screenings? Terri and her attraction to Chris, persuading him to agree to the re-cut? The contract, the high powered agent and her getting American movies for Chris? His own ambitions to film capital after life? Viperman - and the parody of American action films? Kurt D'Angelo and his tantrums? Performance? Chris getting les and less interested, trapped by his contract, not taking any notice, allowing re-cuts? drinking, drugs? Terri's visits? Alex back in Australia? The company sold and the new bosses, the effect on Chris? His relationship with Terri, the sexual relationship, hopes? The phone call to Alex for his wedding?, His feeling trapped, Terri and her going to New York, the new producer for After Life? His feeling down, going out in the car, the crash, hospital - the support of Terri and Alex coming from Australia? Recovery? The experience of selling his soul?
5. Alex, the producer, writer, friendship with Chris, plans for dealing with Terri, going to Los Angeles, the tour, his stance about the re-cutting, his relationship with Pam? His going home, writing? The wedding, Chris seeming far away? The accident and his going to Los Angeles? The filming of After Life?
6. The Australian industry, film and television, local box office and audience, American box office and fame, contracts, the American treatment? Re-cutting films? The film making, the gaudy lifestyle, the smooth deals? The tough agents? Independence and authority?
7. Los Angeles and its style, the market people, Steve and his fast talking, his phone calls? His relationship with Terri, discussing her relationship with Chris? His being ousted from the company?
8. Terri, attractive, good at her job, pressurising Chris and Alex, falling in love, her affairs, her decision about Chris, about Steve? Her getting the sack, the offer of the new job, going to New York, helping Chris behind the scenes? Re-united in Australia?
9. The New York producer his taking on Terri, agreeing with her, the meetings about After Life, the budget, the director?
10. The Viperman sequences - audiences enjoying the action and the mocking of such action films? The reviews, the premier, the sequel?
11. The violence theme - Viperman, its popularity, the young man going into the store, the massacre of the children?
12. The basic plot, portrait of film making, Australian American themes?