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Around the Block
IMDB Rating: 5.2/10 from votes
Release: 6 September 2013 (Canada) /

Around the Block

Genre: Drama
Director:
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: AROUND THE BLOCK is about breaking family and cultural cycles for a hopeful future. A contemporary story of love, revenge, and triumph, an Aboriginal boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of acting and the disintegration of his family. Meanwhile his high school drama teacher must practice what she teaches if she is to succeed in her personal and professional life. Written by Anonymous

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Critic Reviews


Christina Ricci is a very difficult Hollywood actress to categorize. While she has been involved in quite a few projects that are very commercially oriented (such as the god-awful "Sleepy Hollow"), she also has chosen many odd projects with far less mass appeal (such as "Pecker" and "Pumpkin") and has deliberately avoided the typical starlet persona. So, I wasn't all too surprised to see her, of all things, in a micro- budgeted independent film from Australia...yes, Australia.

In many ways, Around the Block is a lot like the old Sidney Poitier film "To Sir, With Love" combined with "Hamlet". I know this sounds strange--but the similarities become obvious as you watch the film. Like "To Sir, With Love", the main character in the film is a well meaning and super- idealistic foreign teacher who has come to work with disadvantaged city kids. Some might find this sort of idea a bit paternalistic--like it takes some American-type to come save the poor children of the world. And, while this might be one interpretation of the film, there is far more to it than this. This is because the teacher herself is a bit lost--and the movie is bound to turn a few heads with Ricci and the subplot involving her struggle with bisexuality. Again, I see this as Ricci walking to her own drummer in playing this character--and her rather steamy sex scene with a woman she meets in a bar will probably offend a few folks and inspire others. I definitely do NOT remember this sort of plot element in To Sir, With Love!

As far as the "Hamlet" element goes, you get it in double doses. First, this teacher wants to put on a production of this Shakespeare play using the inner city students from her school--and there is a widespread belief that these kids could never appreciate the play or rise to the occasion to successfully put on the play for the community. Second, the kid playing Hamlet, Liam (ably played by Hunter Page-Lochard) is in a position to recreate the play in his real life. This is because his father is in prison--and the jerk is pressuring his sons to avenge him by killing the man responsible for his incarceration. I liked this angle, as it made me realize for the first time that in the classic play, Hamlet's dead father actually could be seen as THE villain in the play, as he destroys his son in order to achieve revenge. On top of these themes, you add a lot of hip-hop culture and discussions of lost Aboriginal youth and you have this film.

So is this melange about two characters searching for a sense of identity any good? Well, I liked it. It managed to take familiar topics and make them quite unique and original. It also gives you insight into bigotry and dissatisfaction that folks outside Australia might not even realize exist. It's answer to all this might seem to be a bit simplistic, but at least it does address these problems and challenges the viewer. In other words, the film might offend you but at least it gets you to think and won't bore you.

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