The Best (And Most Underseen) Australian Films of 2014

Forget the kitchen-sink drama stereotype; 2014 was Australia’s year of genre films. Here's some you might have missed.

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The Best (And Most Underseen) Australian Films of 2014


Forget the kitchen-sink drama stereotype; 2014 was Australia’s year of genre films. Amid the diversity, last year’s abundance of locally-made sci-fi thrillers, apocalyptic actions, dark crime comedies and cop dramas had one thing in common: a super-high pure entertainment factor. Has the pattern of crowdpleasing popcorn films been set? Perhaps. The 2015 roster is filled with similar films of a much bigger scale – Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, Red Dog director Kriev Stender’s crime romp Kill Me Three Times, Robert Connolly’s 3D family comedy Paper Planes, and of course, George Miller’s decades-in-the-works Mad Max 4: Fury Road.

Had the seven films listed here come out of Hollywood, they would have attracted the marketing and widespread distribution — and consequent audience figures — they deserve. 2014 was not just a year of genre films; it was also a year when discussion of the film industry’s biggest problems broke into the mainstream media. No longer can it be argued that Australian storytelling is the issue preventing larger audiences for local films; market problems of access and equity are key in an industry in which the largest, most monopolistic cinema chains and distributors are chronically ignoring and underselling local films.

The fact that the top four Australian films at the box office (The Water Diviner, Railway Man, Tracks, Wolf Creek 2) were cashed-up overseas collaborations, adaptations or sequels, means that this best-of list is also a Most Underseen list. Some absorbed, some terrified, some saddened. All thrilled. Sure, we may be living in the age of cinematic idiocy – big-budgeted, rebooted, cross-eyed, oversaturated Hollywood/Marvel terrors that astound the eye yet numb the mind — but there’s good stuff for those who look for it.

Click through for the greatest Australian films that slipped through the fingers of most multiplex film-goers this year.

Words by Lauren Carroll Harris.

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