G’day, and welcome to 3 High View Crescent, Coolaroo, Australia. your hosts are the Kerrigans, a family of numpty ne’er-do-wells.
Dad Darryl (Michael Caton) is a likeable dipstick who loves his wife Sal (Anne Tenney), her cooking (“Seasoning! Looks like everybody’s kicked a goal!”), and their four kids – especially Steve (Anthony Simcoe), an “ideas man” who’s addicted to scouring classified ads (“Dad? A guy is selling a pair of jousting sticks...”).
They’re a family of born losers, but when a scheming corporation tries to demolish their ramshackle house for a new airport runway, Darryl launches a legal crusade that’s as half-baked as Sal’s sponge cakes. He reckons an Aussie man’s home is his castle. Surely he hasn’t got a hope in hell?
From the outside, Rob Sitch’s movie doesn’t look all that inviting. Production values are tatty and it’s full of ugly characters in polyester and kangaroo-embroidered knitwear. not even Eric Bana – in a breakout role as Darryl’s Greek, kickboxing son-in-law – adds glamour.
It works, though, because it’s so full of heart, an egalitarian, class-conscious comedy willing to stand up for Darryl’s rights, forgiving his flaws. A revenge-of-the-little-man parable, The Castle was also the revenge of the little movie.
Shot in 11 days for just $19,000 (Australian dollars) it grossed over $10.3m when it was released back in 1997. There’s surely a story to be told there.
Pity this far from bonzer disc only has a trailer, then.