Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2001
UK: Feature Film Company
Cast: Billy Connolly, Judy Davis, Colin Friels, Wendy Hughes, Bille Brown, John Howard, Emily Browning, Blair Venn, Vincent Ball, Frank Whitten, Peter Whitford, Linal Haft, Tim Robertson, Steve Jacobs, Richard Carter, Josephine Byrnes, Tamblyn Lord, Andrea Moore, Glenda Linscott, Tamara Kuldin, Martin Vaughan, Maggie Blinco, Leonid Dobrinsky, Troy Carlson, Andrew Blaxland, Matthew Lilley, Lenore Smith, Stuart Katzen, Warren Jones, Ken Senga, Pamela Shaw, Clarence Dany, Dina Panozzo, Jeanette Cronin, Vic Hunter, Darius Paczynski, Ritchie Singer, Anthony Weigh, Warren Coleman, Robert Noble, Michael Robertson, Danny Cowles, Dennis Allard
Director: Mark Joffe
Country: Australia
UK: 102 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language
UK Release Date: 22 August 2003


When lightning strikes and sinks Steve Myers' (Billy Connolly) fishing boat (and floating home) the insurance company declares it an Act of God and refuses to pay. No man can prevail against the might of the multinational. Angry and hung over, Steve sees no way out but to sue the other party - he sues God.

Steve is a middle-aged drop out from society, his marriage, and the law he used to practise. He struggles to make a living from catching crayfish and talks mainly to his dog, Arthur. His feisty ex-wife Jules (Wendy Hughes), and their eleven year old daughter, Rebecca (Emily Browning), live with the manager of the town's caravan park, the redoubtable Les (Blair Venn). Jules thinks Steve's a lunatic, but knowing him, she also thinks he won't go through with his mad project. Steve never goes through with anything.

The Almighty as usual declining to appear, the churches must defend Him. They employ the legendary Machiavellian lawyer, Gerry Ryan (Bille Brown), an old friend of the Cardinal. Ryan enlists the support of the financial and media establishment, and entices Steve's jealous and ambitious brother, David (Colin Friels), to the cause.

As the media storm blows in and Steve becomes aware of the earth-shaking consequences of his actions, his resolve begins to flag. However, by now he has made the acquaintance of the beautiful, enigmatic Anna Redmond (Judy Davis), a well-known media personality who is disenchanted with her cynical profession. Steve and Anna have disappointed souls and empty lives in common. They scrap and joust and grow very fond of each other. Steve's case inspires Anna, and Anna's worldly skills and steely resolution are just what Steve needs to complement his legal noose. Together they form a brilliant, passionate alliance.

The case becomes an international 'cause celebre'. It is the solitary individual against the global giant. The man of principle against the dissimulating church. Feeling that the media is causing their conflicts of interest to glow the churches tell Gerry to settle. Urged by Anna, Steve takes a deep breath and refuses to accept. The case will go to court.

It becomes a class action. Hundreds of people similarly wronged by their insurers scramble to join. The churches feel the moral heat still more intensely. A shudder runs down the spine of the international insurance industry. To protect the status quo that suits them so admirably it appears they must prove that God exists. The best hope for the churches, it seems, is to prove that God doesn't. Gerry girds all their loins and begins some deadly machinations.

But Steve is also feeling the pressure. His boat was secured against Les' only asset, the caravan park. If he loses the case Les will lose everything, and he will have to move to Western Australia, taking Jules and Rebecca with him. Their home at the park is permanently beset by journalists and religious fanatics. All those people in the class action are depending on him. Who knows how many others have pinned their hopes to him? Doubt threatens to overwhelm Steve. But Anna prevails.

Now with the nation at a virtual standstill and world's press gathered to observe, Steve and Gerry and the churches do battle in the courtroom...

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