Top 30 Aussie actors

They come from a land down under. And then they all eventually move to Hollywood. Ah, Australia. For Europeans and Americans it can feel like the other side of the world, and it pretty much is, in some ways.

Often the mention of the country conjures up images of beaches, surf and endless sunshine. Whilst that’s all there it’s also a place that seems to churn out an astonishingly high number of talented actors. Here’s my pick of a few of my favourites and the films or TV that put them on my radar.

THE UP-AND-COMERS
Margot Robbie
The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus
Chris Hemsworth
Thor, Avengers, A Cabin In The Woods
Liam Hemsworth
Hunger Games
Joel Edgerton
Warrior, Animal Kingdom
Rose Byrne
Spy, Sunshine, 28 Weeks Later
Jai Courtney
Spartacus, Jack Reacher
Mia Wasikowska
Alice in Wonderland, Stoker
Rebel Wilson
Pitch Perfect
Melissa George
30 Days Of Night, Triangle
Jason Clarke
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Zero Dark Thirty
Abbie Cornish
Stop-Loss, Limitless, Candy
Emily Browning
Sleeping Beauty, Legend
Yvonne Strahovski
24: Live Another Day, Killer Elite
David Wenham
300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
Sam Worthington
Avatar
Teresa Palmer
Warm Bodies
Sullivan Stapleton
Animal Kingdom, 300: Rise Of An Empire

THE HEAVYWEIGHTS
Nicole Kidman
Eyes Wide Shut, Days of Thunder
Russell Crowe
Gladiator, L.A. Confidential, The Quick And The Dead, The Insider
Cate Blanchett
The Lord Of The Rings, The Life Aquatic, The Aviator
Eric Bana
Hanna, Troy, Munich
Hugh Jackman
X-Men, The Prestige
Geoffrey Rush
Pirates Of The Carribbean, The Tailor Of Panama, The King’s Speech
Guy Pearce
Momento, L.A. Confidential
Naomi Watts
King Kong, The Ring
Mel Gibson*
Lethal Weapon, We Were Soldiers
Toni Collette
About a Boy, Little Miss Sunshine
Hugo Weaving
The Matrix, The Lord Of The Rings
Heath Ledger**
The Dark Knight, Candy, Brokeback Mountain
Ben Mendelsohn
The Place Beyond the Pines, Animal Kingdom, Starred Up

* Despite the fact that, technically, Gibson is American, he carved out his acting career in Australia and was roommates with Geoffrey Rush at one point. So he gets included.
** I appreciate Heath Ledger is the only one on this list no longer with us, but he was so good he should stay. And that’s that.

Inbetweeners 2: the law of diminishing returns

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Let’s clear one thing up from the start. Filmmaking and storytelling is hard and one of the hardest of the lot is comedy. When the Inbetweeners first aired as a TV show it made waves. The comedy was well observed, the characters were brilliant and the interplay between the four main actors was the show’s secret weapon.

A film version was a gamble, but a calculated one. And it paid off massively. So… a sequel was inevitable. The trouble is, many would argue that this sort of quick fire, gross out comedy is best in short doses. Over the length of a film (even a short one) it doesn’t hold up. Well the first film proved it can work… just about.

But what of the sequel?

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Well, it has its moments. For the first film Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison) went on a lad’s holiday to Malia. This time round they cross off the next rite of passage and attempt to do a ‘gap yah’ and go travelling.

A sequel is no easy thing in comedy. If your first film is a hit then the pressure is on. Audiences want more of the same but also fresh laughs, new gags – all that jazz. To be fair to the writer-directors Damon Beesley and Iain Morris they do try and deliver on both fronts.

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Like the first one, Will quickly befriends a ridiculously pretty English girl (Laura Haddock in the original, Emily Berrington here – the latter most recently seen in 24: Live Another Day). She’s out his league and he fails to realise it (or fit in) with the traveller way of life.

The story loosely revolves around Jay wanting to go in search of his ex-girlfriend from the first film who’s somewhere in the outback. This leads the lads to Byron bay and a water park (as Will pursues his love interest), then into the wilderness (as Jay pursues his).

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It’s clear the four leads haven’t lost the chemistry they had in the TV show and the first film, and some of the gags and set pieces go down a treat (look out for an excruciating song round a campfire), but there definitely feels as if there’s been a loss of momentum. Some of the comedy feels forced and the story isn’t perhaps as strong or focused as the first film.

Some of the quieter moments where the lads cut the banter and allow some drama to seep in work really well and help contrast the comedy. Had there been more of this it would have made the story much stronger, as you really do feel for their characters as there’s an inherent sweetness to them (yes, even when they’re puking and shitting everywhere).

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It perhaps just feels like the writers have had the world grow up around them, but kept the lads stuck in an adolescent timewarp. Or maybe they’ve just taken these characters as far as they can go. Either way, it was a solid sequel, but it’s time to call time on these loveable briefcase wankers.

May they grow up (or not) in peace.