Directed by: Dein Perry
Written by:Steve Worland
Starring: Adam Garcia, Sophie Lee, Sam Worthington, William Zappa, Lisa Perry, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
Released: October 5, 2000
Grade: A-

Sean (Garcia) and his brother, Mitchell (Worthington), are two popular guys who work at a Newcastle steelworks.  Their mother has passed away and they still live at home with dad who’s a former Rugby League great and synonymous amongst the community.  Both share a love for tap and have done so since they were kids but as time as matured them, little has been made of their talents.

On a spur of the moment decision, Sean decides to audition for a tap show in Sydney and his flair catches the eye of the talent scout who decides he’s the right material.  At the same time, he meets and instantly falls for Linda (Lee) but Sean’s trip to the big city is eminent and they soon find themselves apart.

In Sydney, things don’t go as expected.  Sean quits and heads back to Newcastle where things go from bad to worse.  The steelworks are to be shut down and all the employees retrenched.  So to help get the staff back on their feet and create a retraining program, Sean and his mates decide to put on a tap concert to help raise much-needed funds.

Bootmen is a very likeable film particularly for its fast pace.  No scene seems wasted and the whole story flows at a rapid rate that heightens the interest and suspense making the surprises harder to anticipate.

Adam Garcia will boom onto the worldwide stage with this role continuing the world’s obsession with new Australian actors.  Sophie Lee also shows that she can play more than a dumb blonde (as in Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle) with her subtle performance.  The real stars of this film though are the tap dancers that have put on a fantastic show thanks to years of effort and practice.

Dein Perry is a newcomer to filmmaking although he knows a thing or two about the craft having been a member of Tap Dogs, the tap group from which this movie was inspired.  He uses inventive camera angles and lighting to increase our appreciation for these entertainers.  The film’s closing number is fantastic but the whole film is attractive as we see the demanding training and other hardships that went into pulling the dream off.

Bootmen is not to be missed.  It’s a tribute to Australia’s super talent both on and behind the cameras.  A touching, sentimental and uplifting film, Bootmen has all the right ingredients so take the time and go see it.