DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

 
PLUMBER, THE (TV) (director/writer: Peter Weir; cinematographer: David Sanderson; editor: G. Turney-Smith; music: Gerry Tolland; cast: Judy Morris (Jill Cowper), Ivor Kants (Max), Robert Coleby (Dr Brian Cowper), Candy Raymond (Meg), Beverley Roberts (Dr Japari); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Matt Carroll; Cinema Ventures/Channel Nine; 1979-Australia)

"A one-joke black comedy, that plays out as a nightmare."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
 
A made for Australian television film. Peter Weir ("'Gallipoli"/"Picnic at Hanging Rock"/"The Last Wave") directs and is writer of this one-joke black comedy, that plays out as a nightmare. It's a social drama about the vast difference between classes and how sometimes educated people have lost their gut instincts and act too polite to those of a lower-class they should tell off if so warranted, and by not being true to themselves things only become worse.

Jill Cowper (Judy Morris) is going for her master's degree in cultural anthropology, while her husband Brian (Robert Coleby) is a medical lecturer. The liberal academic couple recently moved into a university apartment complex in Adelaide, South Australia. While hubby is at work, a scruffy playful plumber named Max (Ivor Kants) comes to Jill's apartment and says he was sent to fix the bathroom pipes. Jill tells him there's nothing wrong with the pipes and never requested a plumber. Max claims it will only take a little while to check things out, so she allows him entry. Max soon wrecks the plumbing and it becomes a big job, which takes days. The plumber plays sinister mind games with her and becomes increasingly creepy during the ensuing days, playing his guitar in her bathroom, laying on her his feelings of being treated without respect because he lacks a formal education and telling her he was a jailbird. Brian is occupied with getting a prized lecture gig in Geneva and leaves the plumber affair up to Jill, who is becoming annoyed that the distressing plumbing situation has destroyed her ability to concentrate on writing her thesis on the New Guinea natives. Meg (Candy Raymond) is a tenant in the building and Jill's best friend, but only finds her misadventure with the plumber amusing. There seems to be no one available in the apartment complex office to handle Jill's complaint. When the couple's plight becomes more and more weird, the film becomes less credible and less interesting. It's a film that seems to be working best when it's not busy trying to be so absurd.

REVIEWED ON 9/7/2011       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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