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The Merger - Film Review

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Published September 4th 2018
The Merger will have you in stitches and tears.

The Merger, Damian Callinan, movie, Bodgy Creek
The Merger


Troy Carrington (Damian Callinan), the only footy player to have ever made it from the small country town of Bodgy Creek returns after a terrible injury ends his sporting career. Now he lives (not quite) like a hermit making strange biodynamic concoctions like Semillion Shiraz, Riesling Port and artichoke wine with his own bare feet.

Dubbed the 'Town Killer' because he took part in protests against the logging of old growth forest which meant the timber mill - the lifeblood of the town - shut down and the town and the footy club are dying.

Plus the clubrooms have to be demolished because of asbestos so the only option is a merger with the neighbouring town's footy club. But not over the dead body of Bull Barlow (John Howard) the club president.

In her efforts to save the club, Bull's recently widowed daughter-in-law Angie (Kate Mulvany), tries to convince the unpopular Carrington to coach the team. Eventually, he comes around, albeit with a hare-brained scheme to apply for a grant to rebuild the clubrooms, using the skills of the local refugees and to get the refugees to swell the empty ranks of the players to build up the team. The only problem is that none of the refugees, bar one, have any building skills or footy skills.

The story is persistently narrated by ten-year-old Neil (Raffety Grierson), Bull's grandson, who is grieving the recent loss of his father and spends the entire film recording 28 interviews with Carrington. Carrington, meanwhile uses unorthodox means to build the motley crew into a football team.

The Merger, Damian Callinan, movie, Bodgy Creek
Damian Callinan in the Merger


The film is directed by Mark Grentell. The screenplay evolved from a play written and performed by actor and comedian Damian Callinan, who cleverly weaves the stories of several refugees into the plot.

We're left wondering what the film's name really refers to the threat of the merger of the club, or the merger of cultures, ways of life, or families...

Get a taste of this funny and poignant film in the trailer and then go and see it!

Rated M
103 minutes
In cinemas September 6
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*Rosemary Argue was invited as a guest
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by John Andrew on 31/08/2018
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