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Rant Of The Day
Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

THIS RANT 27/05/2001


The dark side of The Castle

Last night, for no obvious reason, I decided to watch my copy of The Castle, the infamous first movie comedy from the Working Dog team (also responsible for The Dish, The Panel, The Late Show, and other stuff we've not got time to get into now.) While the film is always good for a laugh, what struck me on this viewing was not the humour, but the nastier, darker elements of the story.

Some of these, of course, are no revelation. One of the great achievements of The Castle is walking the fine line between affectionate mockery and outright nastiness. What got to me though was some of the plot elements which tend to escape you on an initial viewing, because you're too busy laughing.

For instance: the Kerrigans spend the entire movie fighting to maintain a home for their family, and yet it's made clear by the end that the parents are the only ones living there. (Wayne is in the family business, but not living at home; ditto Steve and Kerry.) They went through all that and then the family left?

What really struck me, though, was the plight of the narrator.The movie opens with the lines "My name is Dale Kerrigan, and this is my story", and ends with a reprise of the same. Yet we actually learn virtually nothing of Dale's achievements. All he does in the entire movie is eat, watch TV, talk, fish, dig a hole, and visit Wayne in prison (on a Friday, so clearly he's not working or going to school). By the end of the movie, it's implied that he's left home, but we have literally no idea what he's done with his life; his entire identity has been subsumed in his family. That's his story. (Notice that even in the picture on the cover, he's right on the edge of the shot.)

Of course, I could be taking the whole thing too seriously. But you do have to wonder. Lord knows what I'll make of The Dish now when I go back for a second viewing.


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