I Saw It On Netflix: Gettin’ Square

gettin squareGettin’ Square is the down-under way of saying Going Straight. I like films from down-under,  Australia and New Zealand, kind of New Auszealian films, if you will. They are especially skilled at broad humor.

Gettin’ Square is a caper film, with a strong comedic bent, about a recently released prisoner trying to turn his life around.  New Auszealian films are funny in a different way than American films even when the subject matter is similar. American actors seem to be willing to be funny only when they can cool at the same time, non-American actors skillfully avoid that trap.

Barry “Wattsy” Wirth (Sam Worthington) is the focus of a film loaded with characters. From `Dabba’ (Timothy Spall), the ex-criminal turned restaurant owner who hires Wattsy as a cook, to `Naill’ (David Roberts) an unreformed criminal. But the real treat here is the character named `Johnny Spiteri’  and called `Johnny Spit’ (David Wenham). Here’s a taste of dialogue between him and the QC (Queen’s Council), the equivalent of our DA.

Johnny Spit: I already told you: I don’t know nothing about that shit.

QC: Yes, well…

Johnny:  (To the judge) Oh… I’m sorry your honor. I didn’t mean to say “shit.” It’s just this fucking guy’s getting to me, he’s trying to put words into my mouth and that.


…and later,


Johnny: (To the judge)  Oh, I gotta get home. Who’s paying for my bus fare today?

QC: You don’t need to worry about that now, witness.

Johnny:  Well excuse me, I am worried about it! I’m on medication, you know? Gotta pick up me methadone before five, otherwise I don’t get nothing ’til the morning. ‘Scuse me, your honor, do you know who’s paying for my bus fare today?

Judge: Mr. Dent, has the witness been afforded appropriate expenses?

QC: Sir, I’m informed those instructing me will arrange a check in payment of Mr. Spitieri’s witness expenses directly.

Johnny: A check? Well, what am I gonna do with a check, your honor? I don’t want a fucking check. Me bus driver’s not going to take a check. I need me bus money, otherwise how am I supposed to get home?

Judge: Yes, alright Mr. Spitieri. Mr. Dent, I wonder whether, in the circumstances, some appropriate arrangements couldn’t be made?

QC: To avoid further delays, I’ll get Mr. Toole to fix that up now.

[Mr. Toole pulls a bill from his wallet and gives it to Mr. Dent who gives it to Spit]

Johnny:  Oh, that’s only $20. Me bus doesn’t come ’til four, I’m gonna need some lunch.

Judge: I think perhaps, in the circumstances, the witness is entitled to be reimbursed for his luncheon expenses, Mr. Dent.

QC: I’ll get Mr. Toole to give him another $20 to cover his luncheon expenses.

[Mr. Toole looks in his wallet, but it’s empty. He shrugs at Mr. Dent, who sighs and pulls a bill from his own wallet and gives it to Spit]

Johnny: Thank you.

Johnny Spit takes over the film whenever he’s on screen. When he’s on screen alone he is very funny. Wenham’s performance as Johnny Spit saw him win the Best Actor category in every major Australian film award the year the film was up for nominations.


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