July 18, 2014
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Tomorrow, When The War Began

A surprisingly good movie, the Australian Tomorrow, When The War Began takes on John Marsden’s intriguing dystopian YA novel. It’s an Australian Red Dawn: I rather like some aspects of John Milius’s original movie, but this is a far better story in every way. I’d not heard of Marsden, despite my affection for The Hunger Games and Divergent.

In the US, fantasies about invading hordes are not uncommon, but they’re held by unthinking far-right people who are also crazy. The last time the US worried about a foreign invasion was 1814, unless you’re inclined to count July 3, 1863. Either way, no one was that worried. But I do know Australians – educated, professional, liberal-minded Australians – who do worry about the real possibility of invasion in the medium-term future. And from the perspective of Australia, 1942 was an uncomfortably near-run thing.

Where Red Dawn tends merely to be jingo, Tomorrow, When The War Began lets its characters think and feel. It’s got a pacifist. It does load the dice against her, but it doesn’t cheat. As is often the case in Australian adventure films, the gender politics are smart and seemingly effortless.

Tomorrow, When The War Began