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Newcastle is an involving, absorbing and surprisingly emotional film about a group of teenage guys who live and surf in the hot spot that is Newcastle, Australia. It focuses on 17year old Jesse and his brothers, Victor and Fergus. Victor is the older brother who has been highly successful on the surfing scene, winning numerous accolades for his surfing skills, and Fergus is the younger, Emo-type, brother, who is gay and has a crush on one of Jesse’s friends, Andy.
Jesse enters the yearly surfing competition but gets beaten into third place, with Andy taking top spot so, to drown his sorrows, his mates and a couple of girlfriends take him on a camping trip into the dunes by the sea where they hope to catch some waves.
Fergus, a surfing virgin, is also invited along, much to the disgust of Jesse. While there, they come face to face with issues that change their lives forever.
To be honest, I was not expecting this movie to be very good. A film with the blurb about a group of surfers felt a little too Point Break but Newcastle is an original, funny and witty take on the usual coming-of-age movies and feels as fresh as the water the boys surf in. It hooks you with a bevy of hot young men with their tops off, reels you in with incredible cinematography and a sparky script and then lands you with an enormous emotional whack you really don’t expect.
What makes this film stand out from other Peccadillo Pictures is that the gay card is never over-played. It is part of the plot, has its own arc, but it is not integral to the story. This is a film about sibling rivalry, friendships and the binds we put on ourselves. It never becomes muddied by sickly dialogue, even if occasionally it does become a little too Irvine Welsh with Australian accents.
Newcastle was a huge hit on its release in Australia and on the indie circuits in Japan and the USA and now comes to the UK, where I am sure it will be incredibly well received. I strongly recommend this to anyone, as it is multi-layered, multi-dimensional and should not be missed. Four stars out of five... Surf’s Up!
Newcastle, Australia will be released by Peccadillo Pictures on DVD on 24th May, certificate 18.
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