Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
In this gritty Australian drama, the nihilistic son of Greek immigrants indulges in 24 hours of hedonism in ethnically conflicted inner-city Melbourne. Ari (Alex Dimitriades), a 19-year-old layabout, spends his time picking up strange men for furtive sex; dealing, and doing, speed with his friends; fighting with his conservative father and beleaguered mother; and trying to look after his younger sister, Alex (Andrea Mandalis), who's involved in a clandestine relationship with a young Lebanese guy. Although Ari rails against the racism of Australian society, he's also a bit of a bigot himself. And despite his enthusiastic participation in Greek activities -- weddings, fortune tellers, music, and dancing -- he's also repulsed by his culture's intolerance. Best friend Johnny (Paul Capsis), who defiantly dresses up as his own dead mother, is an outcast, but the straight-seeming Ari refuses to drop him. During the course of a single day, Ari fools around with his friend Betty (Elena Mandalis) and several men of various ages and nationalities. He also pines away for Sean (Julian Garner), a dreamy college friend of his brother's, who may offer a loving alternative to self-destructive excess. When Ari and Johnny are arrested and brutalized by a pair of race-baiting cops, however, the chance for redemption seems more remote than ever. Adapted from the Christos Tsiolkas novel Loaded, Head On marked the feature debut of writer/director Ana Kokkinos, herself an Australian of Greek extraction. The film was shown in the Directors Fortnight section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
hedonism, homosexual, Australian [nationality], bisexuality, drugs, police-brutality, bigotry, intolerance, racism, culture [social culture]
High Production Values