How (good was) zat!?

How (good was) zat!?

Mon August 20, 2012 11:11am

So many things that should have been awful actually worked in this utterly compelling drama.

What's it all about?

This is the dramatisation of Kerry Packer's fight with the world cricketing bodies to start World Series Cricket. It features all the familiar cricket faces of the time, plus Paul Hogan, John Cornell, Delvene Delaney and other celebrities. No matter how many times I had read that before I saw it I hadn't processed quite how much this was going to be about Kerry Packer, ALL about Kerry Packer, who appears in nearly every scene.

Our view

This could only go two ways: very good or very, very bad. Surprisingly it's the former as so many things that should have been awful actually worked in this utterly compelling drama, such as Tony Greig's accent, the dancing lesson between Delvene and Packer, the scene with Packer standing in the middle of Lords pontificating on his love for cricket, the list goes on and on. They should all have been ripe for responses somewhere between a chuckle and a groan but instead they added to the overall effect, which was ... holy Hell I started to like Kerry Packer!

Yes he reduced the wonderful Rose to tears (a fabulous performance by Mandy McElhinney a.k.a. Rhonda from the AAMI ads), had tirades at the drop of a hat and ate McDonalds like an extra from Animal Farm, but that scene where he sat alone in an expensive hotel room eating a cheap burger was such a powerful image and conveyed such humanity.

Yet it didn't come across as Nine merely worshiping their former patriarch; Packer is presented as a deeply flawed anti-hero, possessed of as many negative traits as possible. That honesty is what elevated this to elegance.

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