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BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae) - comedy DVD / crime DVD / action and adventure DVD / mystery and suspense DVD review
BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae) Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Geoffrey Rush, Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins, Tom Budge
Director: Rachel Perkins   Distributor: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 13 September 2011   Runtime: 85 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC

DVD features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo 2.0), Subtitles (English), The Story of Bran nue dae, Film to storyboard comparison galleries, Making of Bran nue dae interviews

*BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae)* on DVD BRAND NEW DAY is an Australian import with a very quirky view of 1969 down under. Called Bran Nue Dae in Australia, the PG-13 musical is more accurately recommended for anyone over 15 or 16 given a few songs with vulgar and/or suggestive lyrics, marijuana smoking, and - believe it or not - a condom tree (apparently something understood more in Australia!).

*BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae)* on DVD Beyond the lyrics, drug use and sexual references, BRAND NEW DAY's plot is interesting and intriguing. An Aborigine teen returns to his Perth mission school after spending his summer holidays at home in coastal Broome. Growing increasingly fed up with the church's treatment of the aboriginal students and unwilling to train for the priesthood, he runs away.

*BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae)* on DVD Along his the way as he attempts to return to his hometown, he meets up with some odd and amusing folks, including an old aboriginal man nicknamed Uncle Tadpole (uncle and aunty are terms of honor for older people in the Outback), played by Ernie Dingo; a couple of German hippies in a VW bus (Annie and Slippery, played by musician Missy Higgins and Tom Budge), and a few other assorted oddities. Willie (our teenaged Aborigine hero, played by Rocky McKenzie) learns a lot about himself, his interests, and his aboriginal roots.

*BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae)* on DVD While temporarily in jail for possession, he has a dream about dancing men, in paint and casting off chains, who he hears called "the old ones." Tadpole tells him that they protect him, and that the morning brings a brand new day. The scenery along the 2500 km (roughly 1550 miles) ride from Perth to Broome is absolutely spectacular; filmed along the NW corridor of Australian coastline, it is a great background setting for the central portion of the movie. There are frequent outbursts of songs, and an accurate look at the experiences and behavior of the outback Aboriginals during the late Sixties.

*BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae)* on DVD Willie finally returns home, and finds the girl he loves singing raunchy music in the local bar. Rosie (Jessica Mauboy) has gotten tangled up with the local bad boy, Lester. When Willie tries to take Rosie away, a fight with Lester ensues. Willie's Bible-thumping mother and her church choir come across the odd companions who had been accompanying Willie and spirit them all away to the beach to "wash away their sins."

The culmination of the story comes on the beach when Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush of Pirates of the Carribean and The King's Speech fame) from the Mission School shows up to take Willie back to Perth. I can't give away the grand finale, but I will say you haven't lived til you have seen Geoffrey Rush sing and dance while dressed as a priest.

*BRAND NEW DAY (Bran Nue Dae)* on DVD BRAND NEW DAY is a fun movie to watch, but possibly not to American tastes. The music, except for the first really vulgar song in the bar, is charming if unknown, I would think, to Americans (except for the country classic "Stand By Your Man"). The musicians are native for the most part, as is the country-rock feel of the music.

As with watching foreign films made in English but with the sense of humor and timing of other nations (British for example, or even subtitled French - and in this case, Aussie), it comes across differently to Yanks, and sometimes off-kilter. I still recommend it nonetheless for the power of the cultural theme running through it and for the acting, especially the roles of Willie and Uncle Tadpole. The music spills over with energy and spirit, and the mostly unknown cast is enthusiastic.

My favorite song (sung once at the Mission School, then reprised at the very end of the movie) is a tongue-in-cheek tirade against the non-natives who came to Australia on prison ships. Be sure to listen to the lyrics, you can't help but laugh with the actors, singers and dancers as they poke fun at both themselves and their past conquerors.

There are some interesting background notes available on a website for the movie and the movie's home page.

If you like to take a chance sometimes on offbeat movie opportunities, BRAND NEW DAY is definitely worth the watch.

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reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
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