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DVD Reviews:  The Club

The Final Say!

Feature Score:

Reviewed by Yianni Pak
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 95 Minutes

If this movie is any indication, the inside workings of an Australian Rules football team involves a LOT of shouting and some extensive gnashing of teeth. The film is based on a play by renowned Australian playwright David Williamson, and explores the inner machinations of Collingwood Football Club during the golden years of AFL, or as it was known back in the day, VFL. The team acquire a new player for an unprecedented amount of money, which causes a stir among the existing players, the coach, and the president of the club. 

It’s an interesting behind-the-scenes look at an AFL club, although whether it is an accurate depiction of the situation is in all honesty a mystery to me. Any high-school English student can tell you that the essence of any good story is conflict, and The Club has conflict to spare. It seems that everyone is angry with everyone else for the whole duration of the story. In fact Jack Thompson states in one of the extras that the film is pretty much one giant argument, and that’s more or less the case. However the story is pretty well paced, as one would expect from director Bruce Beresford, and it’s not too hard to find yourself being engrossed in the tale. 

Given that the movie was made way back in 1980, the video quality isn’t of the highest calibre. The picture is quite grainy, and the colours fairly dull, although this may have been the intention of the director at the time. Audio is quite good, with not a great deal of the crackle that sometimes plagues older movies on DVD. 

There’s a fairly nice collection of extras included on the disc. An interesting featurette entitled “Meet the Team” which includes retrospective interviews with cast and crew members, and a personal look into David Williamson’s playwriting career are probably the most engaging. Also included is the complete radio adaptation of the original play, “The Club – Then and Now” (which is merely a collection of shots from the movie compared with shots of Collingwood’s ground and offices today), a music video of the classic Aussie Rules anthem “Up There Cazaly” and an audio recording of Jack Thompson singing the Collingwood club song(!?). 

The Club is a fairly enjoyable movie presented on a decent DVD. It will most probably appeal to AFL enthusiasts, but anyone who enjoys a bit of good ol’ Aussie drama would be well advised to check it out. 

The Club Features

  • 16x9 widescreen transfer

  • “Meet the Team” – an all new interview featurette with Jack Thompson, Bruce Beresford, Alan Cassell, Matt Carroll, Rene Kink, Ray Shaw and Tom Hafey

  • David Williamson featurette: “Compulsive Playwright”

  • “The Club – Then and Now” A tour of Collingwood Football Club

  • Complete ABC radio adaptation starring John Howard and John Ewart

  • “Up There Cazaly” music video

  • “Hear Jack Thompson Sing” Jack Thompson sings the Collingwood Football Club song

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Umbrella propaganda


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