Directed by Rob Sitch
Written by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch
Starring Sam Neill, Patrick Warburton, Tom Long, Eliza Szonart, Tayler Kane
Great events are usually the subject of epic movies. That’s all fine, but sometimes we have to remember that ordinary people are sometimes caught up in them. And that’s the premise of The Dish.
It’s 1969 and the radiotelescope in Parkes, Australia has a big job: to be the backup antenna for TV signals from the first moon landing. Parkes is a pretty laid back place, where Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill) presides over a motley crew of scientists and whose biggest problem is to keep the local sheep away. But a change in schedule makes Parkes the primary receiver, with the responsibility of broadcasting the signal to the world.
There are some snags and problems along the way, but the movie concentrates on the quirky characters of the town, and how they react to being thrust on the world stage. It’s more a character study than an drama, and is consistently amusing.
Sam Neill was fine in the lead. This was one of his Australian films; he had a streak of good movies made down under including A Cry in the Dark, The Piano, and Sirens.
Director Rob Sitch made his name with his earlier film The Castle – also a quirky comedy – but moved on to TV, where he produced various talk and sports shows. It kept him busy, but he only directed one feature after this.