Dirty Deeds

Stylish but uninteresting film based loosely on visit of mafia associate Joe Testa to Sydney in 1969, and the pig-shooting trip to Bourke he made with Lennie McPherson. By acting out the theory of some crime writers that the mafia came to Sydney, it reveals its absurdity. Why would the American mafia have come here? How could they have hoped to succeed? Why would local crooks have encouraged them? The theory is a variant of the age-old Australian belief that evil comes from outside, but like most conspiracy theories it doesn’t withstand the scrutiny of being taken seriously and depicted in the glare of bright lights.

There is much to enjoy about the film, not least its strong cast, but the script is poor: when compared to even second-tier American gangster movies, it doesn’t seem to understand its subject.