Aus Film Commission
INVESTMENT: SBS Australia, Showtime, Screenwest. Shooting: 2003
WRITER: Dave Warner
PRODUCER: Angie Smith, Soul Films
DIRECTOR: Martin Wilson (WAIT TILL FATHER GETS HOME)
LOGLINE: One crazy night together forever changes the lives of two very different cousins.
SYNOPSIS: Mat, an innocent young country boy and gifted footballer, is coming to the city to try out before all the AFL talent scouts. The plan is for him to spend a quiet night with his relatives before the big day but this all goes awry when George, his city-slicker cousin fails to meet his train. The reason for George’s tardiness is that he has been requested by loan-shark Tiny Veneto to do a cash-for-xtc swap on the other side of town. George isn’t a bad guy at all but in pursuing his dreams for a sportsbar-cum-menswear shop he has gotten in over his head with the sociopathic Tiny.
Tiny is unaware he has been targeted by a police operation and his current flame, Ginger, is in fact an undercover police operative working in association with two cops, Dave and Alex who have earmarked this night as the night Tiny and his drug supplier, The Moroccan, go down. When George doesn’t show at the station, Mat accepts a lift from Jesse, a pretty female biker. Jesse promptly rips him off, taking with her the pair of footy boots without which Mat feels he will fail to impress the scouts. Eventually he does link up with George but he is mortified by his cousin’s brash ways and when George borrows his money to “shout” them bit a visit to a brothel, Mat kicks up and runs off into the night. He is soon running for his life from a gang and only George’s timely intervention saves him from being a human kebab. The cousins have a rapprochement of sorts and when Mat happens upon a contrite Jesse who informs the boys she has returned the footy boots to the train station, it seems that all will end well. Before they know it though, Jesse has made off with George’s car and the bag containing Tiny’s money. George is staring into the bottom of a very deep well. It seems he has no alternative but to report back to Tiny and throw himself on Tiny’s non-existent mercy. It’s not just George who is shattered by the turn of events.
Without the cash linked to Tiny, the cops’ long planned sting has also turned to mud. Jesse though, has a conscience. She was only stealing the money for a drug-addict Dad and deep down she knows that giving him this money will do more harm than good. She takes the money back to Mat and together they reclaim George just before he is about to lose his virginity and possibly, if Tiny has anything to with it, his balls. The three of them head off to the rendezvous, the cops, and Tiny and his crew, in pursuit. For the cops it’s no longer just a question of busting Tiny but avoiding bloodshed as Ginger has discovered that the only reason George was chosen for the courier role is because The Moroccan aims to settle a blood feud with Tiny at the courier’s expense. Of course Jesse and the cousins are unaware of this and they feel well pleased with themselves when they dupe the cops into chasing George while Jesse and Mat go onto the meet.
But then George learns the awful truth – in attempting to save his own arse, he has placed Mat in real danger. This finally provides George with the impetus he needs to change his ways, for once choosing the hard but proper path, instead of the easy but wrong one. It’s a hectic climax as George seeks to redeem himself under the swishing blade of The Moroccan while the paths of the cops and Tiny finally collide. And as for Mat, he will have to demonstrate his foot skills under more pressure than he’d find in any scouting camp.
ROLL is a story about fathers and sons, sons and daughters, husbands and wives brothers and brothers, sisters and brothers and cousins and cousins. ROLL is a funny, suspenseful, express-train of a tale in which a foolish but ultimately decent young hoon gets his life back on track, mends his relationship with his Dad and inadvertently helps Australia qualify for the next World Cup.
“A slick, action packed comedy that’s great entertainment from acclaimed commercials director Martin Wilson and best-selling crime novelist Dave Warner. Aussie rules and Aussie rule-breakers, city and country, bedrooms and brothels collide in this exciting, visually delicious gangster comedy. Hollywood-ready stylist Martin Wilson expertly juggles the multiple storylines and Dave Warner’s menagerie of eccentric characters in this Tarantino-ish tale about a footballer from the bush whose dreams of AFL and fortune are thrown into the air during one head-spinning, adventure filled night in the City of Light”.
Mark Naglazas, The West Australian