Terror Nullius is an anarchic 55 minute scrapbook of hundreds of movies and TV programs sewn together to deliver a two fingered salute to the Crocodile Dundee notion of colonial white Aussie manhood. Crudely clever, but lacking a continuous narrative, it manages to suggest a whole load of cinematic what-if scenarios that film makers could embrace if they have the imagination (and the copyright permission).
It’s impossible to keep track of the endless movies that scenes are cannibalized from. It would be a lot of fun for Aussie cinephiles to spend the time playing bingo with the deluge. Some of the references are local and might go over the heads of the international crowd but there is plenty of excerpts from Mad Max (original and reboot), Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Walkabout, Skippy the Kangaroo, Brokeback Mountain Jaws, and innumerable others. Have fun watching for cameos from the likes of Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Barry Humphries, Jenny Agutter, Russell Crowe, Olivia Newton John and cupcake sprinkles of Kylie Minogue in the soundtrack.
The story is the politics and the politics is oppositional. There is no particular manifesto of gay rights, feminism, or racial equality rather there is an attack on the homophobes, the rapists and the racists. Using their own words, or clips from movies, targets are hoisted in the air by their own actions, then they are gunned down, ground up, or in some cases attacked by blood thirsty sheep. The women of Mad Max Fury Road turn on the slut shamers, Jaws munches the rapists and the colonialists get cinematic comeuppance. There is no Martin Luther King vision of a better world although at one stage Skippy the Kangaroo makes a great case for the Black History of Australia. There is a satisfyingly incendiary smack down of the conservative stories that get told at the expense of progressive ones.
Styled as a drama rather than a documentary this Soda Jerk film becomes slightly obscure in the middle. Without a pure storyline there is more to observe than there is to follow. It would have been more pointed as a set of shorts. It remains inspirational because there are so many stories out there that could be made with the same technique of using and undermining the objectionable parts of familiar tales.
Review by Andrew Hebden at https://www.fringefilmfest.com/
Queerguru Correspondent Andrew Hebden is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.