The Combination Cast
: George Basha, Firass Dirani, Ali Haidar and Clare Bowen Director
: David Field Genre
: MA 15+Synopsis
: One of the most talked about films to come out of Australian cinema in decades, The Combination is a powerful and gripping tale of gang violence, ethnic identity and racism. Banned in cinemas, this provocative and confronting film is the story of a contemporary Lebanese family trying to survive in Sydney's gritty western suburbs. The Combination is available to own on DVD from September 9th.
The Combination follows John Morkos (George Basha) who having just been released from prison is intent on leading a new life, free of his old ways. However upon returning he finds his younger brother Charlie (Firass Dirani) is headed for a life of crime after being lured by the local underworld. John's demands to stay clear of crime fall on deaf ears, as Charlie has no respect for his brother's advice.
Under the maniacal grip of crime figure Zeus (Ali Haidar), Charlie's life oscillates between the schoolyard punch-ups and the gangland streets of his neighbourhood. When his older brother John meets Sydney (Clare Bowen), a local Aussie girl, love further reinforces his resolve to change his ways. But Charlie's continuing descent into a world of violence puts his whole family in harms way making John risk his new life as he is forced into the role of family protector.
David Field's directorial debut provides a raw and compelling look into Australia's underbelly, with a grim insight into Australia's racial divide making it a must-see film for every Australian. Verdict
: The Combination is a violent, yet heart wrenchingly honest portrayal of a Lebanese family and their community setting in the aggressive streets of Sydney's western suburbs.
The movie is shocking and very timely since the race riots of Cornella. Many Australians still don't believe such violence exists on our shores. Looking at the daily news and movies such as The Combination reminds us all that it actually does.
The Combination has some similarities to Underbelly; with drugs, street fighting and the portrayal of the affects these acts have on their loved ones.
The story explosively shows the acts of gang violence and racism that ethnic minorities living in Australia still experience and what can happen when retribution and revenge is on the menu.
The acting is phenomenal; close ups of the actors expressions work to build up a menacing picture of the war they are in, the dialogue is gritty and real.
The violence shown in the film, although confronting, is important as it shows what actually happens on the mean streets of a modern city.Rating
-Brooke HunterSpecial Features
Interviews with David FieldThe Combination ReviewRRP
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Interview with Clare Bowen
How did it feel to star in a movie which was banned from the cinemas? Clare Bowen
: It was scary when it happened
a lot of people's blood, sweat and tears went into The Combination and suddenly it was being dropped. But I am so proud to be part of a project with such a social relevance and impact.
Do you think this affected the movie themes in anyway? Clare Bowen
: The themes - family, love, loyalty, belonging, choices, consequences
they're part of everyday life. I have met a lot of people who tell me they feel a kinship with The Combination's story
there was a furious public outcry over it's removal from cinema and a lot of people took it personally.
What training did you do to prepare yourself for the role?Clare Bowen
: I explored. Spent a lot of time in Parramatta with David, George and the boys just hanging around, sharing meals chatting and getting to know one another. Those guys are like family to me now, they invited me on a journey I couldn't resist.
Your face tells what you are thinking, without needing words- how do you do this? Clare Bowen
: Working with such beautifully generous people definitely helps! And I had great empathy for my character, Sydney. Although we are very different creatures
Do you think that your personal opinions changed whilst you were playing your role in this film? Clare Bowen
: Kibbeh Nayye is my new favourite food, and I'm a terrible boxer.
Are you surprised that there are parents like yours in the film? Clare Bowen
: Not at all, thankfully though my own parents are nothing like them. I think people behave this way out of fear and ignorance
Sydney's parents are trying to protect their only child from something they don't understand. It doesn't excuse their racism by any means, but I guess it shows that their not necessarily evil people, they're just narrow minded, and afraid.
Did you think the movie itself was overall too violent? Clare Bowen
: Life in general is too violent. The film is honest, based on true events. There are a lot of films out there that glorify violence for the sake of entertainment while The Combination actually demonstrates the futility of it.
Interview by Brooke Hunter