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Dr. Plonk

Dr. Plonk (2007) Movie Poster
Australia  •    •  85m  •    •  Directed by: Rolf de Heer.  •  Starring: Nigel Martin, Paul Blackwell, Magda Szubanski, Wayne Anthoney, Phoebe Paterson de Heer, Bogdan Koca, Quentin Kenihan, Sam Brooks, Celine O'Leary, Joey Kennedy, Joanna McGovern, Jeff Lang, Joshua Jaeger.  •  Music by: Graham Tardif.
       It is the great year of 1907. Dr Plonk, eminent scientist and inventor, calculates that the world will end in exactly 101 years unless immediate action is taken. As befalls visionaries through the ages, Plonk is ridiculed for his beliefs, by politicians, by bureaucrats, even by his faithful manservant Paulus. Being the lateral thinker that he is, Plonk invents a time machine and sets out to collect the necessary proof from the very future that's ending. But little about the year of 2007 makes sense to the intrepid doctor. His efforts to alert the appropriate authorities cause him to fall foul of the law and become a hunted man. With the nation's entire law-enforcement system arrayed against him, a scientific question is posed...can Dr Plonk run fast enough?

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
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Review:

Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Image from: Dr. Plonk (2007)
Dr Plonk is the genius of his nation and age (Australia, 1907). He predicts the end of the world in 2008, but no one will believe him without proof. Aided and abetted (and sometimes hindered) by his lazy, deaf assistant Paulus, bustling Mrs Plonk and his dog, Tiberius, Dr Plonk creates a time machine and travels forward in time to find proof.

This comedy is a feature-length (85 minutes) silent, black and white film with a specially composed musical score. And it is funny. The audience at the showing I attended at the Gothenburg Film Festival started out not really knowing how to take it, but first there were giggles, then there were laughs, and the whole thing ended with applause and lots of animated talk and cheerfulness.

The movie has been shot on film that has been treated to look like footage from 1907 and filmed throughout with a hand-cranked camera. An adapted modern camera -- apparently the attempt to use real antique cameras and lenses had to be abandoned as they were incompatible with the modern film that was available. The story is that the movie was conceived as a way to use up writerdirector Rolf de Heer's back stock of left over film, but the effort that has gone into keeping true to the look of silent movies does not suggest that scrimping and saving is the film maker's prime motive.

The action of the film is one long list of clich├ęs from all the silent comedies you can remember seeing, and a great deal of use is made of that silent staple, the vanishing box. Freeze the action. Cut the film. Remove the box. Start the action. Oooh, the box has gone! (The box in this case is the time machine.) The film is successful in part because it has been very well written and planned, and very well cut. Also, apparently, because making it was allowed to take a very long time. It shows a great knowledge of and love for the physical comedy of the old silent movies. It helps also that many of the actors, not just Nigel LunghiMartin (Dr Plonk), must have circus or acrobat training, as they are both physically very funny and their timing is meticulous. Beyond that they also play their parts very truthfully to the style they are imitating. This is a comedy, but it is a comedy in the style of silent comedies from the early days of cinema. Even in the scenes in modern Australia, the actors stay in style as well as in character.

And the dog seems to be having a whale of a time too.


Review by Supercargo from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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Aug 29 2017, 15:46