Film review – Stone Bros. (2009)

Charlie (Leon Burchill) and Eddie (Luke Carroll)
Charlie (Leon Burchill) and Eddie (Luke Carroll)

You can’t help but want to like Stone Bros. Not only is it another contemporary Indigenous Australian film, in a strong year for Australian cinema that has already brought us Samson and Delilah, but it does what Australian films often do best, which is to take a conventional genre and give it a distinctively Australian twist. In the case of Stone Bros. the genre of choice is the pot hazed comedy sub-genre that is the stoner film. Unfortunately, despite all its best intentions, this film by writer/director Richard Frankland (Harry’s War) never really works.

The Indigenous pot-heads who feature are Eddie (Luke Carroll from The Tender Hook and Subdivision) and Charlie (newcomer Leon Burchill). Eddie is the slightly more serious one and sets off on a road trip from Perth to Kalgoorlie after feeling compelled to return a rock containing spiritual significance to his uncle. Charlie goes along for the ride compelled by the desire to smoke the 187 spliffs that he has rolled beforehand. Carroll is terrific as Eddie and shows all the signs of an actor with a promising future. Burchill is incredibly charismatic as Charlie and he is able to bring the screen to life with simply a smile. However, overall the acting and the dialogue in Stone Bros. just feel way too much like they belong in community theatre rather than in a feature film.

TH&B__0956.jpg_cmyk_scaledSimilar to the other recent Australian road-trip film Charlie & Boots, most of Stone Bros. simply consists of a series of somewhat random encounters with various other characters that they meet on the road and a few truly random situations such as a wedding ceremony that a guest is trying to blow up and a possessed dog. While not all the scenarios in the film work, many of them are offbeat enough to be genuinely funny. It could be regarded as an Indigenous Australian version of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle but with a lot more moralising and fewer laughs.

© Thomas Caldwell, 2009

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