Money Movers
By: Jon on March 11, 2002  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Bruce Beresford
Starring: Tony Bonner, Bryan Brown, Ed Devereaux, Terrence Donovan, Jeannie Drynan, Candy Raymond, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell
Screenplay: Bruce Beresford
Country: Australia
Year: 1978
Money Movers seems to be the forgotten string in the bow of celebrated Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford's directorial efforts. It even must have slipped the mind of the man himself as his recent comments on cinematic violence contradict the carnage he gleefully depicts here. This film contains a series of bloody shootouts (including a shotgun blasting that would have made Sam Peckinpah stand up and cheer), numerous fist fights, and a torture sequence identical to the real life antics of Chopper Read. Not to mention the frequent cursing, homophobia and sexism. This isn't exactly Driving Miss Daisy, Bruce, and it would certainly raise a few eyebrows today, but it's the kind of film that I love. If a piece of shit like Stone gets a mass biker rally to celebrate it, then Money Movers deserves a ticker-tape parade through Sydney and keys to the city.

Basically a heist movie, every character is corrupt in some way or is involved in some sort of deceptive behaviour. Darcys security firm transports payroll cash from the banks to their own counting room to be distributed to their clients via a fleet of armoured cars. During one of the payroll runs, driver Dick Martin (Ed Devereaux) stops in a pub car park and is robbed while doing a deal to acquire some stolen meat from his mate 'Nacker', who is blasted during the hold-up. Bent copper Sammy Rose (Alan Cassell) is investigating the robbery and is also asked to check out an anonymous note sent to Darcys stating that the counting room will be robbed soon. Rose immediately contacts big-time hood Jack Henderson (Charles 'Bud' Tingwell) who knows nothing of the counting room job, but wants to be in on it and he sends out his goons to sniff around.

Eric Jackson (Terrence Donovan), his brother Brian (Bryan Brown), and mate Ed Gallagher (Ray Marshall), all long time employees of Darcys, have been plotting for years to rob the place. Fearing that someone else is going to beat them to it, they check the employee files for suspects and pick on the new guy, Leo Bassett (Tony Bonner), one of the night security patrolmen, since he lives in an expensive apartment building and drives a flash car which no ordinary patrolman could afford. When Brian looks at Bassett's photo in the file he says "he looks like a poofter", and when he reads that one of his interests is poetry he shouts "he IS a poofter!". Eric tries to put a bit of pressure on Bassett by following him during his rounds but only succeeds in getting a bashing from Dick Martin who has befriended the timid Bassett. Martin also thumped brother Brian during a Union meeting for making a remark about the armoured car hold-up in the pub car park, and so Martin is on the Jackson's shit list. Eric's surveillance of Bassett eventually attracts the attention of Henderson who extracts the robbery plan details and joins in on the scheme via the use of a set of bolt cutters on a part of Eric's anatomy. Henderson holds this impromptu meeting in his own lounge room with strategically placed sheets of plastic to protect the carpet. The big day arrives with Eric Jackson not only planning to steal $20 million, but to get some revenge on Bassett and Martin

Based on the 1972 novel by Devon Minchin, this is an extremely entertaining and well-paced film, thanks to Beresford's great screenplay and terrific cast loaded with very familiar faces from Oz TV and films. Devereaux and Bonner were in the popular children's TV show "Skippy" and since I watched that as a kid it's great to see them in the thick of the action, landing punches and taking bullet hits. Lucky Grills (yes, Bargearse!) is on hand to slap his secretary on the bum, drink beer and have comments made about his weight. Terry Camilleri plays a brutal, emotionless hit man and Max Fairchild (probably best known these days as 'Beau' from the tyre commercials, although I prefer to remember him as one of the victims in Mad Max 2 that spends the whole film tied to the front of a car) is one of Henderson's goons with a knack for toe cutting. Stuart Littlemore, of ABC's Backchat fame, can also be found playing a reporter in a couple of scenes and big time cinematographer John Seale was part of the camera crew.

You can't deny the impact Beresford has had on Australian cinema, but Money Movers isn't a film about a significant event in Australian history, or a film about Australian cultural identity, or a film about Australian sexual expression. It's a no holds barred exploitation film, and that's good enough for me.
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