Thursday, 29 May 2014


Antipodean acting legends Bryan Brown and Sam Neill star in Old School, a new Australian crime comedy drama which started last week on pubcaster ABC1.

« I want to know about Sterling Nickle. 
- Bugger off. I'm not a dog. 
- If I'm not a cop, you're not dogging, you stupid bastard. 
- Yeah, well, once a cop, always a cop. »

Lennie Cahill (Brown) is released from prison after serving a 12-year sentence for his part in the robbery of an armoured vehicle. Now retired cop Ted McCabe (Neill) was shot during the heist by a mysterious man in a suit. Lennie wants his share of the loot whileTed wants to catch the man who sent him to hospital for five months and wrecked his career. He tails Cahill, seemingly the only gang member alive as the others died in suspicious circumstances.

When the ex-detective saves Lennie from someone who got rid of his old associate, he makes the ex-crim an offer: if Lennie cooperates with him he'll keep his money. Old School was created by Paul Oliver and Steve Wright. It is based on Oliver's 2003 short film Lennie Cahill Shoots Through, where Lennie Cahill was portrayed by Tony Barry. This 8 x One-Hour series is produced by Matchbox Pictures (The Straits, The Slap) for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Old School reunites Bryan Brown and Sam Neill, who already worked together in movies like Dean Spanley (2008) or Dirty Deeds (2002). The chemistry between them is great and gives this enjoyable premiere the vibe of a buddy movie. The script by Paul Oliver and Gregor Jordan has the tone and the humour of the early episodes of New Tricks. The pre-credit heist is spectacular and cinematic. Jordan, also the series lead director, directed the 1999 crime caper film Two Hands (with Bryan Brown and Heath Ledger).

The cast includes Sarah Peirse (Ted's wife Margaret), Hanna Mangan Lawrence (Spartacus) as Lennie's law student granddaughter Shannon, Mark Coles Smith (Jason), Aaron Jeffery and Kate Box as McCabe's former colleagues Rick and Cath. Peter Phelps (Underbelly, Stingers) plays Malcolm Dwyer. Disguise, the superb main title song written and performed by Eleanor Dunlop, is on the cleverly designed titles from Method Studios.

The music is by noted Hollywood composer Graeme Revell (born in New Zealand). Old School is globally distributed by NBC Universal, which owns Matchbox Pictures, so a possible remake wouldn't be a surprise at all.

See also: (Matchbox Pictures on YouTube)

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