Oyster Farmer is an absolutely gorgeous, subtle, dark, subtly funny comedy with a great bluesy soundtrack. If you are looking for slapstick comedy or farce, this is not the movie for you. If you like a movie that is subtle in its humor, tells a fascinating story, and is simply captivating, Oyster Farmer, a selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, is definitely up our alley. This is also a great romantic comedy of sorts and an interesting study of a particular social group. Fans of Australian cinema will also love this movie for it has all the usual weird Australians and manners foreign viewers have come to expect and love in movies from under the globe.
Jack Flange (Alex O'Lachlan) has pulled off the perfect armored car heist. This involves some fruit roll-ups and mailing himself the booty through the Australian post. Unfortunately, the package disappears when the mailman keels over from a heart attack on a dock. Jack is spending time as a deck hand in a remote community of oyster farmers after his sister Nikki (Claudia Harrison) crashes her car and finds herself in the local hospital. While trying to figure out who found and opened his package by checking out who has come into some serious money recently, Jack also gets involved in the affairs of Brownie (David Field) and Mumbles (Jim Norton) and Brownie's estranged wife and oyster magician Trish (Kerry Armstrong) who left Brownie for want of a bathtub. The prime suspect on Jack's list is Pearl (Diana Glenn), a girl he has the hots for and who also works at the local post office. Jack discovers who has his money the same day he is officially accepted in this tight knit community but since Oyster Farmer is a much smarter movie than that, there is still more to come.
There is so much going on in Oyster Farmer, including a colony of ex Vietnam that Jack befriends, that paying close attention definitely helps. One of the funniest scenes in Oyster Farmer is when a dog changes TV channels through flatulence after eating the remote control unit. But even this is handled in a pretty matter of fact way in an otherwise quiet comedy that has a lot going for it.
The culture of Australian oyster farmers is central to this subtle comedy of manners and is what makes this movie so charming and fascinating. Oyster Farmer is a character and local color driven movie that is a lot of fun to watch.