Newcastle

"Very Good"

Newcastle Review


Australian teen hardbodies have group sex in a tent. Need I continue? Actually, that memorable moment is just one of many eye-catching scenes in Newcastle, a fast-paced drama that dives into the tumultuous lives of competitive teen surfers who live up the coast from Sydney. There's lots going on, but ultimately it's the gorgeously shot surfing that you'll remember most.

Seventeen-year-old surfing prodigy Jesse (Lachlan Buchanan) has much on his mind as the local surfing championships loom. His mildly dysfunctional family includes a brooding older brother, Victor (Reshad Strik), who is deeply bitter about losing out on his own surfing glory after serious injuries, as well as a twin brother, Fergus (Xavier Samuels), who is fairly self-confident in his effeminate way (nail polish, purple hair streaks) yet still eager to hang out with the surf dudes on the beach, homophobic though they may be. Even his own brother sometimes calls him "Fag-us."

To get away from all the pre-competition pressure, Jesse's friends Scotty (Israel Cannan) and Nathan (Ben Milliken) suggest a weekend getaway to a deserted beach beyond the dunes. Two lovely young girls, surf buddy Andy (Kirk Jenkins), and Fergus also pile into the SUV, and away the group goes for fun, sun, and surfing. And did I mention the group sex in the tent?

Here the film takes its own refreshing break, with some amazingly photographed surfing. It really does feel like a day at the beach as you try to guess which cast members are actor-surfers and which are surfer-actors. As night falls, Jesse and Nathan each pair off with a girl (the tent!), Fergus and Andy wander off to discuss the meaning of life (is there more to golden boy Andy than meets the eye?), and Scotty becomes the extra man, an embarrassment that he tries to correct with alcohol and mischief.

The idyll is interrupted by the unwelcome arrival of angry brother Victor and that huge chip on his shoulder. Jealousy and testosterone rage, and a surfing battle ensues. That means there are more great surfing shots to watch.

If all this sounds a bit like Endless Summer meets The Karate Kid, perhaps it is, but writer/director Dan Castle has a subtle touch, and his characters have room to develop, especially Fergus, the "deviant" of the group who turns out to have his act far more together than the rest of these supposedly happy-go-lucky teens. Newcastle is like a staycation, a much needed beach break that you can enjoy without leaving home.

I thought you packed the sunscreen.



Newcastle

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st May 2009

Distributed by: Jour de Fete

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dan Castle

Producer: Naomi Wenck

Starring: as Leah, as Fergus

Also starring:

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