Wake in Fright ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This really fucked me up. I'm never drinking beer again.

"Wake in Fright" really pushes the limits of my comfort level with a star-based rating system for art. Is it morally acceptable to endorse a film with lengthy, un-simulated, brutally violent sequences? Still unsure! The rating I gave reflects my assessment of whether this film does what it set out to do, and how resonant I found the material.

This three-part "making of" article, while poorly copyedited, is almost as crazy as the film itself. I can't believe they shot most of this on sound stages. The interiors are so decrepit and disgusting compared to the shots of the streets in the Yabba. In hindsight, it really contributes to the sense of tremendous unease you feel when Gary Bond's character is wandering around outside.

I'm curious to see whether I'll have a deeper queer reading of this film in future viewings. The initial bar scenes and two-up game feel pretty homoerotic (all of that sweat!), but Donald Pleasence's character is fucking disgusting and it's pretty clear that Bond's character (and the audience by proxy) is supposed to be repulsed by all of this. I was fascinated to learn that Bond was gay, and would love to know what he thought of the character he was playing.