Placid Lake (Ben Lee) is a (regrettably named) young man who has just graduated from preparatory school and thoroughly embarrassed his self-seeking hippie parents, Doug (Garry McDonald) and Sylvia Lake (Miranda Richardson), his tyrannical classmates and hypocritical teachers. Convinced that he can only find himself in the wilds of Montana (he lives in Australia), Placid makes a schmaltzy student film (Life is Super Dooper) about the awe-inspiring atmosphere of friendliness at his school and it nets him a coveted $10,000 prize check. With the money, he can now leave the small world he's always known and venture to exciting, foreign locales. Unfortunately, there is a rage inside Placid Lake - a rage that compels him to recreate his award winning film for its debut screening. The Life is Super Dooper shown at the awards ceremony is a B&W expose consisting of hidden camera footage of classmates beating each other up, teachers cursing about their charges, and Placid's parent's internal strife over his mother's lesbian affair. The audience is shocked, and Placid winds up flying off the roof of the school. Lying in a full body cast for months, Placid emerges with a plan for the ultimate act of rebellion: being normal.
The Rage in Placid Lake is writer/director Tony McNamara's debut film and it's both a wildly entertaining and heartfelt film. McNamara comes from a theatre background and we hear it in the clever and witty dialogue. While the film is not fast paced, it moves along congenially and never pauses long enough to become bogged down in the sentimentality that smoothes out its rougher edges -- it's a poignant film with a young, brash attitude.
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