Ben Elton is one of the finest talents living in Western Australia, as he’s done quite a lot in the writing scene. From the last 3 seasons the TV show Blackadder, as well as the Queen rock-musical We Will Rock You, this guy has written some very hilarious material over the years. So I was intrigued on seeing the film he directed, wrote, and filmed in the countryside of Western Australia titled Three Summers.
This film takes place over three different Summers at a Western Australian festival known as ‘The Westival’. Robert Sheehan stars as Roland, an egotistical theremin player who notices the amazing talent of a pub band fiddle player named Keevey, played by Home and Away star Rebecca Breeds. Eventually, Roland encourages Keevey to enter a music academy. This is the main plot of the film that is surrounded by various other plots, including a racist grandad (Michael Caton) who learns to change his ways after coming across Indigenous dancers and an asylum seeker foster child.
There are some funny moments in this film, like the folk singer Diamond and her variations of Australian classics. Not to mention, the performances are fine from the cast for what they’ve given, like Magda Szubanski as an incredibly happy mum-like Radio announcer. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this film is that it crams in way too many stories and characters, which leads to the film not giving them enough time to develop outside flat stereotypes. As a matter of fact, some of the characters are easily forgotten due to the lack of screen time given or the lack of character depth. There’s even a subplot with two married couples, but it’s given so little time and there’s hardly any point to being with the rest of the film.
Furthermore, the main love story does not intersect in any way with the other subplots that explore various political issues. Also, Roland can come off as unlikeable, making it difficult for me to cheer him on and get his happy ending. I don’t want this review to come off as hating towards Ben Elton because he’s incredibly talented. But every once in a while, even a great creator can stumble, and this flick was too cluttered and lacking in depth.