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Tomorrow, When the War Began

Entry updated 16 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2010). OmniLab and Screen Australia in association with Paramount Pictures present an Ambience Entertainment production. Written and directed by Stuart Beattie. Based on Tomorrow, When the War Began (1993) by John Marsden. Cast includes Deniz Akdeniz, Ashleigh Cummings, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lincoln Lewis, Chris Pang, Andy Ryan, Caitlin Stasey and Phoebe Tonkin. 103 minutes. Colour.

Seven teenagers return from a bush weekend to find Australia invaded by an unnamed (and essentially fictitious) Pacific nation, and in the days that follow are forged by their experiences from fugitives into guerrilla resistance fighters.

Established screenwriter Beattie, who had had a significant hand in the Pirates of the Caribbean and GI Joe franchises (see GI Joe: the Rise of Cobra), adapts the first novel in Marsden's Young Adult series with fidelity, sensitivity, and a modest but well-stretched budget in his first feature as director. The first and most interesting of a burst of variously unsuccessful teens-at-war Invasion films which included the remake Red Dawn (2010) and the Meg Rosoff adaptation How I Live Now (2013), it roots the narrative strongly in the landscape and culture of small-town New South Wales, and follows the novel's interest in the specific impact of war on teenagers, though (in the absence of a sequel) with a softened ending. The young ensemble cast gel winningly, but though the film was a hit in Australia and New Zealand, it failed to dent the international market, and plans for sequels would be indefinitely deferred. [NL]


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