30 October 2014

The Plumber (1979)

77 min.
Directed by Peter Weir.
With Judy Morris, Ivor Kants, Robert Coleby, Candy Raymond, Henri Szeps, Yomi Abioudan.
This 1979 Australian TV terror never scores as an effective thriller. But it does offer up a mildly intriguing two character sociological study.

Anthropology university student Jill Cowper (Morris) and her husband Brian (Coleby) live in college housing, a small one bedroom efficiency apartment.

One morning, Jill receives an unexpected visit from Max (Kants) - supposedly the campus plumber - who tells her that he'll need to perform extensive work on her troubled bathroom pipes.

Slightly bewildered, but politely obliging, Jill consents and gives Max free rein of the household.

But something just isn't right here...

Soon, this (clearly) mentally deranged plumber is menacing Jill's well being, playing havoc with her daily life - and testing the very limits of her sanity.

Is Max merely off balanced, or downright psychotic? How far will he take his deranged games?

Director Weir doesn't imbue this effort with a level of moodiness anywhere near his Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), but leads Morris and Kants are watchable enough to give this one a ride.

They turn in quirky performances here, and as characters, both Jill and Max challenge the viewer's sympathies (and invite their contempt).

Definitely chooses to focus a bit too much on the social class interplay between Jill and Max - at the expense of action and plot movements - making this offbeat bird a truly mixed bag.

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