The Merger is a feel-good offbeat Aussie comedy based on the acclaimed stage show of the same name, written by comedy legend Damian Callinan, who also plays the lead role.
Troy Carrington (Callinan) was an Aussie Rules legend before injury brought an abrupt end to his sporting career. He returned to the small country town of Bodgy Creek where he grew up but lives as a recluse, due to being unpopular with locals who accuse him of being responsible for the demise of the town’s timber industry.
At a town meeting it is made clear that the local football team, the Bodgy Creek Roosters, either wind up or merge with another team if they want to survive. Troy eventually bows to pressure following an approach from Angie Barlow (Kate Mulvany), and agrees to coach the hapless Roosters. Troy knows he needs a miracle to resurrect the ageing and undermanned team. To make up the numbers he realises he must try and recruit the town’s recently arrived refugees. The film cleverly touches on the issues and controversy surrounding refugees and requires the power of community to overcome small-mindedness.
The Merger’s other stars include:
- John Howard (Packed to the Rafters, All Saints, Seachange) is Angie’s Dad – Bull Barlow – the racist Club President who despises Troy and is against any change to the club
- Rafferty Grierson (Home & Away, Underbelly Files: Chopper) plays a superb role as Angie’s 10 year-old young son Neil.
- Fayssal Bazzi (Down Under) is Sayyid, a Syrian refugee who is fanatical about footy,
- Josh McConville (The Infinite Man, ABC TV’s Cleverman) as the likeable Snapper.
The movie is packed with hilarious one-liners, catchy nick-names for the footy players and quirky Australian humour. Overall a very enjoyable feel-good movie that is well worth seeing – you won’t regret it.
Words by John Glennie