SFF Review: Ruben Guthrie

Synopsis: Ruben Guthrie is on fire. He’s the Creative Director of a cutting-edge advertising agency, he’s engaged to a Czech supermodel and Sydney is his oyster. He pours himself a drink to celebrate, a drink to work, a drink to sleep and one spectacular night he drinks so much he thinks he can fly. A brutally honest comedy about work, family and excess, RUBEN GUTHRIE taps a deep vein and asks – is it unAustralian to refuse a drink? A funny and moving act of revelation about spiralling high, crashing hard and being taken to AA by your mum.
Director: Brendan Cowell
Starring: Patrick Brammall, Abbey Lee, Robyn Nevin, Alex Dimitriades
Release Date: 16th July 2015

Ruben Guthrie, based on the play of the same name, opened this year’s Sydney Film Festival. It’s always great to see home-grown films and talent opening the festival.
Written and directed by Brendan Cowell, Ruben Guthrie begins at a out-of-control pool party where Guthrie throws himself off the roof of his home, injuring himself.Arrogant, selfish and extremely egotistical, Guthrie begins the AA program only to find his parents, his boss, and his best friend, all pressuring him to go back to drinking. Filled with sharp, comedic gags, Ruben Guthrie is an enjoyable film filled with moments of drama and dark humour.
While the film shows the extravagance of male’s in advertising, it fails to really portray the women in an engaging way. Guthrie’s model-ex is mostly off-screen and his fling with Virginia (Harriet Dyer) feels too cliched and tiresome. Even Guthrie’s mother is portrayed confusingly; first as the one that drags him to AA, and is then pressuring him to drink again? It plays too close to its original theatre origins and doesn’t really feel like a cinematic movie. The constant product placement gets tiring and awkward; Vivid Festival, Lexus, Royal Randwick. Sure, they probably contributed something to the budget but their splashy mentions took me out of the film.
Nevertheless, these are small nit-picks on a movie that was quite enjoyable with a somewhat impressive ending that felt quite fitting with the storyline.

Pair it with: A lemon, lime bitters.

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