The Rage in Placid Lake (2003) – By Robert Steele

Suggestive
of the title, the 2003 Australian film, The Rage in Placid Lake, is not
a horror-flick, nor a teenage sex-romp. Though it contains elements of
the latter, it is more than anything, a semi-serious coming-of-age
story.

Placid Lake (Ben Lee) is different than your typical
coming-of-age character. He is not an innocent kid suddenly struck with
tragedy. Instead, Placid is an intellectual teenage hipster pushed over
the edge.

The movie differs from typical Hollywood films by exploring what
happens after the life-altering experience. When Placid is confronted
by bullies he is struck with an incorrect theory: that humans have
finally evolved to the next step, giving th em the ability to fly. A
leap from a building, however, puts him into the hospital. From then
on, Placid changes his views, and he moves from being a left-wing
activist to a corporate-conservative.

The change comes as a shock to both Placid’s beatnik parents–who find
it upsetting to see him wearing a suit–and his long-time equally
intellectual friend Gemma (Rose Byrne). Gemma herself feels pressured
by her father’s expectations of her for col lege, and is sexually
frustrated about her virginity.

Though it is at times an over-the-top comedy, the movie does explore
issues of conformity in-depth. There is also an interesting
relationship between Placid and Gemma that, in the end, brings
everything together. With the unique story, the internatio nally
unknown actors giving wonderful performances, and the sunny look and
feel, the movie shows that Hollywood could learn a thing or two from
some of these obscure Aussie flicks.