Melissa George

Thrills, Spills & Virtuosos: New DVD/Blu/VOD releases

Production still from Felony

Back in early October, the British book trade celebrated a phenomenon known as Super Thursday, their busiest release day of the year, which sees all the big stocking-filler titles – everything from celebrity memoirs to blockbuster novels and sports annuals – hit shops in the lead-up to Christmas. Well, Australian cinema had its own super day (of sorts) this past week, with four excellent titles released for consumption in the comfort of your own home – Felony, Mystery Road, All This Mayhem and The Last Impresario.

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ON TV: The Slap (BBC Four)

Still from The SlapComing to BBC Four tonight is the first episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s mini-series adaptation of Christos Tsolikas’ controversial bestseller The Slap, which traces the aftermath of a tense incident at a barbeque from varying perspectives.

Although it may sit slightly out of The Far Paradise‘s ‘Australian cinema’ remit, this eight-part drama has plenty of filmic pedigree, starring an ensemble cast which includes Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Dirty Pretty Things), Melissa George (Triangle, 30 Days of Night), Alex Dimitriades (The Heartbreak Kid, Head On – which was based on Tsolikas’ novel Loaded), Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate, Blame) and Anthony Hayes (The Square, The Boys). There’s plenty of talent behind the camera too, with four directors – Tony Ayres (Walking on Water, The Home Song Stories), Robert Connolly (The Bank, Balibo), Jessica Hobbs (So Close to Home) and Matthew Saville (Noise) – each taking the lead on two episodes.

If you’ve ever read one of Tsolikas’ books, you’ll know how uncompromising a figure he can be, but if you need more proof just listen to his controversial, yet apt assessment of Australia’s ‘society of selfishness’, expressed in an interview for BBC Hardtalk when promoting The Slap. All reports from Australia suggest this vivid, compelling series is one to watch (and to stick with until the end), so make sure you tune in to BBC Four at 10pm tonight (October 27) for the first episode. Directed by Jessica Hobbs, it focuses on Hector (Jonathan LaPaglia) whose birthday party is ruined when a man slaps the child of another couple.