Film Review: Swinging Safari

cast of swinging safari

Swinging Safari is a fantastic throwback that perfectly captures the delights and the dirtiness of 1970’s suburban/beach Australia

Chuck on your tightest pair of budgie smugglers, grab a pack of ciggies and your closest cask wine as Swinging Safari takes you back to the simpler times of 1970’s suburban/beach living with some of your favourite Australian actors.

Set in 1970’s New South Wales, Swinging Safari follows the satirical lives of three outrageous Australian families living in the same suburb and the hilarious conflict that arises after the parents failed attempt at a swinger’s night. From the ‘House of Hell’ up the road owned by the “sunburnt centrefolds” of the suburb, Kaye (Kylie Minogue) and Keith Hall (Guy Pearce), to Rick (Julian McMahon) and Jo Jones (Radha Mitchell), the big kahunas on the block who aren’t’ afraid to flaunt their money (alongside their bodies); this neighbourhood is full of characters.

The film is narrated by an older Jeff Marsh (Australian film and theatre royalty, Richard Roxborough), as he reflects on his time as a 14-year-old aspiring film maker armed with his Super 8 camera, growing up in the stereotypical New South Wales beach suburb of Wallaroo, providing a satirical take on the whitebread yesteryear of Australia which many will find nostalgic. Some of the most memorable scenes provide a perfect insight into Australia’s previous beach culture, full of a variety of multi-coloured budgie smugglers, buffets of boxed wine and buckets of Kentucky Fried chicken, rogue beach umbrellas, un-sun screened skin and poisonous blue-bottles galore.

The hairdressers, costume and set designers, including Priscilla, Queen of the Desert designer Lizzy Gardiner, deserve a large round of applause for their accurate portrayal of the outrageous and over-the-top 70’s fashion and style. From brightly coloured, backless jumpsuits, painful-looking platform shoes and eye-watering patterns, to big hair and oversized sunglasses to match the even bigger personalities – there is never a visually dull moment on screen. The film also reunites much of the team of Priscilla, with (alongside Gardiner) producer Al Clark and production designer Colin Gibson, as well as composer Guy Gross and editor Sue Blainey.

The casting involves a fantastic array of Australian talent, from pop-princess and Neighbours’ good-girl, Kylie Minogue, to our favourite ‘Queen of the Desert’, Guy Pearce, both of whom give hilariously dramatic performances as the argumentative ‘House of Hell’ Halls. Australian sweetheart, Radha Mitchell, is a complete standout as the sexually promiscuous and scandalously dressed Jo Jones who’s all for a bit of swinging with friends and is always found with a cigarette in one hand and wine in the other (alongside a very obvious drug addiction, but hey, it was the 70’s). Julian McMahon’s return to the big screen, and Australian film in general, is impressive as Jo’s loud and egotistical husband, Rick Jones. Alongside Mitchell, McMahon summons all his Hollywood confidence and ego to bring life to a character who could well be called the king of Wallaroo (and probably wouldn’t mind that title either).

Alongside the older acting generation are some fantastic young actors taking on the role of the suburban children, with some young stars in the making to be found inside Swinging Safari.

Despite what can be an up and down storyline the characters themselves are pure Australian gold, providing the audience with an amazing array of outrageous outfits, situations and laughs. Swinging Safari is a fantastic throwback that perfectly captures the delights and the dirtiness of 1970’s suburban/beach Australia.

Swinging Safari opens this Thursday. Check out the official site here.

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