The Late Movies: Amazing Films from Down Under

Ransom Riggs

There are some pretty amazing Australian films out there, but by and large they're only well-known in their home country. I thought I'd use tonight's Late Movies to share a few of my favorites.

Bad Boy Bubby

This is one of my favorite Australian films, and also one of the weirdest and most disturbing movies I've ever seen. It centers around an abused man-child, the titular Bubby, who was kept indoors and told that outside was poison for the first thirty-something years of his life. When his long-gone father returns for a fling with his mother, he freaks out and suffocates them both with cling-wrap, finds out that outside's not actually poison, and escapes into modern-day Adelaide to wreak havoc, befriend a cat, start a rock band, and have other wild adventures. Adding to the weirdness is the fact that this film was shot using at least a dozen different cinematographers, giving the film a visual style at least as schizophrenic as its protagonist.

Some NSFW stuff in this trailer, btw.


Two modern-day kids from Sydney drive out into the deep countryside with their stressed-out dad for a picnic. Dad freaks out, tries to kill them, then shoots himself and sets his car on fire. They're left to find their way home through the harsh Australian bush in a bizarre and visionary journey that mimics that of the Aboriginal walkabout. The film debut of legendary Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

A group of Victorian-era schoolgirls go on a day's outing to a local monolith in the outback. Several of them disappear in a mystery that consumes their mannered school and ultimately tears it apart. A formal-looking period piece with haunting, supernatural undertones. Fascinating.

The Last Wave

Another Peter Weir masterpiece, this one set in modern day Sydney, about a lawyer who takes the case of several Aboriginal men accused of murdering one of their own. He becomes embroiled in secret rituals and a powerful belief system that seems to predict the end of the world, and discovers that he, too, may be a powerful shaman in his own right. A work of subtle psychological weirdness and beauty.

Muriel's Wedding

The film that brought Toni Collette into the international spotlight, and an hilarious spoof on small towns, small minds and the travails of a fat, Abba-loving girl who wants desperately to be one of the beautiful people.