Look Out, Juno Temple, Here Comes Emily Barclay ….

One of the things I like about Netflix is the fact that I can gain instant access to flicks which I did not have the opportunity to view when they were first released and/or was too cheap to rent on DVD …..

Like Suburban Mayhem, for example …

suburb - poster

Emily Barclay is a force of nature as a booze swillin’, coke sniffin’ single mom who uses sex as a weapon and honestly can’t see why her hell-on-wheels lifestyle should have any bearing on whether or not she gets to keep her infant daughter. (Imagine how the public perceives Lindsay Lohan, multiply that by ten and add a child and you get some idea of the character played so ably and provocatively by Ms. Barclay.)

Emily Barclay as Katrina Skinner in Suburban Mayhem
Emily Barclay as Katrina Skinner in Suburban Mayhem

Curiously enough, although Ms. Barclay has the lead role in this Australian-shot 2006 indie,, it is Mia Wasikowska in a smaller and less flashy part that has taken the pole position in the Oz to Hollywood freeway in  recent years. Don’t misunderstand me. Ms. W. was brilliant as a troubled gymnast in the first season of HBO’s In Treatment. In fact, it could be argued that her roles in Hollywood blockbusters like Alice in Wonderland and Lawless have not even begun to tap the potential she showed in the HBO series. (In a way, she kinda reminds me of a younger Tilda Swinton in her range and in her ability to use her unconventional beauty to suit the characters she plays.)

Mia Wasikowska in Suburban Mayhem
Mia Wasikowska in Suburban Mayhem

However, this film belongs, body and soul to Ms. Barclay. I’m not exactly sure what scrrenwriter Alice Bell and director Paul Goldman wished to accomplish with this uneven pic. (Near as I can figure, it was pitch black comedy.) What I do know, though, is that based on this performance alone, when (and if ) Ms. Barclay decides to seriously take on Hollywood nothing short of nuclear apocalypse (or a really inept talent agency) should be able to stop her.

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