Marking Time (TV Movie 2003) Poster

(2003 TV Movie)

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Powerful Stuff
Yukle2 April 2005
This is the greatest show ever. It portrays the real message refugees received from the majority of Australians when they tried to enter the country illegally and yet were sent away or locked up in detention (even the children; in fact, many are STILL there). The message is not forced in your face, it is subtle and allows room for your own opinion. Hal, the story's narrator, is like a lot of rural Australians: lazy, indifferent and a "light" user of drugs. The things he and his acquaintances get up to are another issue facing the youth of now. There are many messages lying in the story, yet none are overdone and all are very important, prophetic messages. There is humour at the appropriate times to bring up the mood a bit but by the end, you'll be in tears.

It would've taken John Doyle, of all things a popular comedian, a lot of guts to write this because it goes against the common opinion of an entire nation and was actually dismissed by many as mere fiction. The single problem with Marking Time is there are only four episodes.
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John Doyle continues his fine writing form
brekyattifs4 January 2004
John Doyle proves he is one of Australia's best writers with this mini series. I was excited by the previews and the show lived up to my expectations. Calling it a Romeo and Juliet set in rural Australia is to simplify a show that is so much more. The show's greatest strength is that it has a real context. How many times have a watched a series that is set in a vacuum, giving the audience no insight into the time and place it was produced. Marking Time portrays what it was like in Australia at the start of the 21st Century. Our pride in the Olympics, the sense of optimism in 2000, the bewilderment of Tampa and September 11. The trouble with most Australian TV and movies is they are set in two extremes. They are either set in the absolute outback (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Welcome to Woop Woop) or in the inner city of a bustling metropolis (Sample

People, Dirty Deeds). A show like Marking Time, or the equally excellent The

Dish, is so refreshing because it is about the small cities and country towns where a lot of us live. If you have ever had to leave Geraldton or Rockhampton or Renmark or Batemans Bay or whatever your hometown for work or study you would understand exactly how Hal (Abe Forsythe) felt. Ultimately you outgrow your surroundings and it is time to move on. Of course the show is not without its faults. The Afghani refugees Hassan (Lech Mackiewicz) and Randa (Bojana Novakovic) look nothing like the ethnic Hazars they are supposed to be playing. The show would have been better if the producers had the courage to cast genuine refugees. Also the reasoning behind the detention of Randa and Hassan and the attitudes of the townspeople were oversimplifies. Not everyone who voted for the coalition in the 2001 election were horrible racists. These comments aside, Marking Time was both thoughtful and uplifting.
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Excellent and realistic
griffithkevin16 September 2006
The portrayal of youth in small town Australia is spot on. I lived in Manjimup, WA. I recognised the people. The main characters Hal's direct to camera talking would normally annoy me but in this production the actor carries it off. His father conveys the schoolteacher as a loving but serious minded person like so many teachers. His sharing a joint with his son must be familiar to many baby boomers who are now parents of young adults. The only criticism is that Randa is not as dark skinned as most Afghanis probably because the actress is of Yugoslavian background. Anyone who is familiar with small town Australia cannot fail to relate to John Doyle's excellent script.
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WOW! This is what TV is for
diversdream200023 September 2006
This show is being repeated in Sydney at this time and being from a small country town in Western NSW out near Bourke (about 8-10 hours drive from Sydney out back as we call it) for a lot of my life i can see all the characters in this show in a lot of the kids i went to school with and grew up with. This show has resonated with me a lot due to this and the fact that my Dad was ex ADF and served with the Army 1953 - 1983. He always taught me to NEVER judge a person or a subject in a negative way (much like Geoff Morrell does in the show to his own son) except my Dad NEVER played guitar!!)and never to trust what the media feeds to you. I can remember going to work and seeing on the train in the morning on the papers about it happening (9-11). I lost a mate in it from the Cronulla area of Sydney but do you know what strikes me the most - even now as i type this tonight.

The Muslim Population was so SCARED of us that not one (2 at where i work called in sick) of them were on the streets of downtown Sydney's main street. It still sticks with me. I feel ashamed that people who had every right to feel safe were not able to. Like the hero in this show i wonder where Terrisom and Racism came from pre 9-11. But my family left Ireland in the 1920s to escape terrorism so in a way i am a refugee too.

Sorry for the ramble this show just made me think a lot and isn't that what GOOD TV should do! Make you think, question and wonder as much as entertain you? I missed this first time round i wish i had'nt. If it becomes available overseas WATCH IT. Its a good example of whats good in Australia and also whats not Good. I would rate this with the BBC Warriors for pure entertainment and also thought provoking. As warriors made me re evaluate the Bosnia etc debacle it also made me see the racist idiots that beat their chest and wave their flag and say 'were representing Australia'. Well guess what! YOUR not representing my dad or me. And if he was still alive i know he would be mad as hell at whats been going on. So next time you wave the flag think of this am i doing it for all of my country or just the vocal minority that seem to get on the news when they don't deserve to do so. Stephen. Sydney. Australia PS i have 3 friends that i know of overseas right now from Aust and 1 special person going overseas Andi day now. i respect them and i respect their job like my Dad said after Vietnam (3 Years) 'we were professional soldiers its our job. we knew we might have to do it. its part of the job. Jist because we fight does NOT mean we agree with why were their'.
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An Australian "Romeo and Juliet" for modern times
jacandjim4 October 2006
We like to think of ourselves as serious movie 'buffs', but this locally-made film blew us away with its excellent script, genuinely moving acting, and believably important storyline. Important especially in this day of growing suspicion of our Muslim neighbours. Well done Australia (again) and especially well done to young Abe Forsythe who carried off a difficult role with intermittent asides to the camera, with panache. Geoff Morrell as the voice of reason is always reliable, (and got the best lines!) and the rest of the cast provided a nice mix of characters recognisable to most Aussies. The theme is topical yet timeless (in the manner of Shakespeare's original script), but never proselytises or feels weighty. We viewed this over four episodes, and were looking forward each week to being thoroughly entertained.
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Leftist bias and innuendo... yet another painful "message series" from "our" ABC...
ozziefilmbuff12 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Our ABC" (aka; the Australian Bolshevik Collective) has done it again in offering yet another shallow "message series" brim-full of leftist political bias and innuendo (oh-so-cleverly masquerading as a modern-day antipodean Romeo and Juliet themed love story).

A painful box ticking exercise with all those tired old reoccurring themes covered.

White Rural Australians - Racists (tick) Refugees - wronged innocents and vulnerable victims (tick) Coalition (conservative party) supporters - evil or ignorant (tick) Mainstream Australian culture - xenophobic (tick) Ethnic culture - whimsically exotic, tolerant and ethically superior (tick) Promoted as a coming of age tale amid the backdrop of the Sydney Olympics and turbulent domestic politics, the hidden motives of director and producer are easily identifiable.

Hal's dad - a former Olympian in the story (who better to play a morally righteous character in sport-living Oz?), Rania - Hal's love interest - played with the dexterity and complexity of a Carmelite nun (she even draws this comparison herself, to make doubly sure we all get the point!) And Hal himself, a bloke so disillusioned at the victory of the morally repugnant Howard government that he up and leaves for Afghanistan at the end of the series (an painfully obvious gesture of support to the convicted Aussie-born terrorist David Hicks), in pursuit of the woman he loves.

And on and on it goes.

Some of the supporting characters, particularly Hal's friends, are well-written and clearly identifiable, but ultimately remain cartoonish stereotypes.

Far from this series serving as a historical source for a particular era in Australian history, I am confident it will be remembered as just another example of the ABC's all to familiar leftist bias, (one which makes "Triumph of the Will" seem balanced in comparison!).

So hostile towards the Howard Government back in 2003, in hindsight it's easy to comprehend now how one of it's own (former ABC journalist Maxine McKew) was inspired to defeat John Howard himself in the most recent general election.

In no other country (certainly not a developed one) have I seen a more painful display of political bias from a national broadcaster. AVOID marking time like the plague (unless you enjoy blindingly conspicuous and badly written left-wing propaganda).
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