Everyone knows that gambling is immensely popular Down Under. Furthermore, four out of five Aussies engage in one form of betting/wagering/gambling or another, both online and offline. This lands them the top spot when it comes to the number of people gambling. There is still some debate as to how that happened.
Certain experts believe it is due to the numerous venues which offer at least some forms of wagering/gambling. There are more than 4,700 lottery outlets and 6,800 hotels, pubs, and clubs which offer some type of gambling. On top of that, there are dozens of casinos across the country.
With that in mind, it is very surprising that movie producers still haven’t picked up on Aussie love for gambling and turned it into a movie or two.
However, there have been a few movies which tackle this subject. That’s why we’ve compiled this short list for you to enjoy.
Oscar and Lucinda (1997)
A British-Australian production, this film is a romantic drama set in the Victorian era. The film stars Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes. It was directed by Gillian Armstrong. A fun fact is that this film was nominated for an Academy Award.
The film is based on an award-winning novel by Peter Carey. It makes great use of flashback sequences and is told by a great-grandson of one of the protagonists of the film. Flashbacks are utilized to demonstrate the events that led to the birth of the storyteller.
Lucinda Leplastrier is an heiress to a great fortune. She purchases a glass factory and starts gambling after she is exposed to casino games by her accountant. On the other hand, Oscar, the other titular character, is studying to become an Anglican clergyman, but he ends up becoming a tremendously successful gambler. He then uses this money to pay for his studies and donate to charities. Oscar and Lucinda meet by chance, and he explains to her that gambling is not a sin.
As the story goes on, Oscar becomes addicted to dice and loses his scholarship. He finds a job at Lucinda’s glass factory. They both wager their inheritance on the creation of a glass church model. Oscar is the winner, but he dies when he falls asleep after prayer in the glass church.
Reverend Dennis Hasset is concerned that Miriam Oscar’s friend/lover will inherit Lucinda’s wealth. He proceeds to burn the papers that confirm the bet.
Dirty Deeds (2002)
Directed by David Caesar and shot in the Land Down Under, Dirty Deeds is set in the mobster era of the late ’60s. The plot revolves around Aussie mobster Barry Ryan, who is in control of the gambling industry in Sydney and makes a lot of money from pokies. Barry’s business is booming due to the influx of U.S. soldiers visiting on their break from the Vietnam War.
The U.S. mafia notices the profits and tries to get a piece for themselves. They send two goons — the older and more thoughtful Tony, and the young, brash and violent Sal. This causes Ryan to have to deal with many criminal and personal issues. This includes fighting the “Yanks” as well as taking care of both his wife and mistress.
There are many subplots in the movie, from rivals who want to put our protagonist out of business to dodging the ever-watchful eye of the law. His problems are exacerbated when the American mobsters arrived. Barry needs to get rid of the Americans without drawing too much attention to himself.
A drama directed by Heath Davis. It was filmed in Queensland, and it revolves around the ups and downs of the Rugby League. The film won several film awards and achieved considerable success.
In the last decade or two, the Rugby League was rocked with numerous match-fixing scandals and gambling addiction. Broke focuses on the hot issue of gambling and spots in Australia. It talks about the lives of champion players who struggle to keep winning after they stop playing the sport.
While the movie is fictional, Davis stated that the film is based on actual rugby players he had known to have become gambling addicts.
The film has won great praise from not only film critics but also experts who treat gambling addiction. They stated that the film addresses and faithfully showcases several key issues which occur in people with gambling addiction. The experts also stated that they were optimistic and that the film would help raise awareness about gambling addiction.
Due to the simple fact that the casino industry is huge Down Under, we don’t think it will be very long before that world starts getting featured in films. There’s also a chance that Netflix might greenlight a show based on Australian casinos; you never know what they’ll do next.
But the simple fact is that if Australian producers don’t take the first step, this interesting world will never be represented on the big screen.