Tomorrow, When the War Began
   Director: Stuart Beattie, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 103 mins

Screenwriter Stuart Beattie (best known for co-writing the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) makes his directorial debut with his filming of the action spectacular Tomorrow, When the War Began.
   The movie is an exciting adaptation of the intriguing novel (the first of seven) by Australian author John Marsden which tells the story of a group of teenagers living in an Australian country town in NSW. The teens go on a camping trip and return to find that their country has been taken over by a heavily armed invasion force. In some ways, this thrilling movie is similar to the 1980’s cult classic Red Dawn which starred Patrick Swayze.
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   For his first ever movie, Australian-born Beattie has assembled a young cast of primarily unknown Australian actors, with Caitlin Stasey (from the TV show Neighbours) playing the lead character of Ellie, who besides being the heroine is also the narrator of the story. Other notable performances include that of Denis Akdeniz as the irrepressible Homer, Ashleigh Cummings as the deeply religious Robyn, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Ellie’s best friend Corrie, her boyfriend Kevin played by Home and Away star Lincoln Lewis, and Ellie’s love interest Lee, an Asian restaurant employee played by Chris Pang, with Colin Friels (Solo) contributing a cameo as a doctor.
   In fact all the characters are well developed, allowing sufficient time for their insecurities and problems to be highlighted. Besides showing their transformation from teenagers to young adults, who are prepared to take the fight to the enemy, the movie explores such themes as heroism, loyalty, mateship, and teenage relationships.
   Tomorrow When the War Began is beautifully shot on location in NSW by cinematographer Ben Nott (Daybreakers) and is by far the most exhilarating locally produced action movie since the Mad Max movies. Furthermore, it is bound to be a blockbuster with Australian audiences, delivering strong characters, lots of well-staged, action-packed sequences and solid performances from an attractive young cast.
   Like many in the audience, one awaits the next enthralling instalment in the Tomorrow series.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps

To find out more about Victor Rebikoff click here.
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