Directed by: David Field
Written by:George Basha
Starring: George Basha, Firass Dirani, Doris Younane, Clare Bowen, Michael Denkha
Released: February 26, 2009
Grade: B

The Combination is set in Sydney and centres on two Lebanese brothers. John (Basha) has just been released after a two year stint in jail. The time he spent locked away had a profound impact. He’s now returned to live with his mother (Younane) and he wants to rebuild his life. He’s got a new girlfriend (Bowen) and he’s got a part-time job at a small boxing centre.

John’s biggest concern is his youngest brother, Charlie (Dirani). Over the past two years, Charlie has fallen in with the wrong crowd at school and has been caught up in a gang war. To make matters worse, he’s recently become a drug dealer. John doesn’t want Charlie to make the same mistakes that he did. He needs to find away to get through to him and set him on the right path.

This is a nice story. It highlights the importance of one’s family and how far we’re prepared to go to look after our own. It also looks at the drivers behind much of the racial tension in some Australian communities. There’s a brief clip shown of the 2005 riots in Cronulla that reminds us that this story is closer to home than you might think.

Writer George Basha, who also plays John, drew on his own experiences to help create the story. He changed his own lifestyle after seeing one of his best friends set on fire by an underworld figure for an unpaid debt. By chance, his script found its way into the hands of actor David Field (Gettin’ Square, Unfinished Sky) who agreed to make his directorial debut. It’s worth pointing out that it took six years to secure the funding to make the movie. It’s not an easy business.

We’re almost two full months into the 2009 calendar year and this is the first Aussie film to be released. The Combination isn’t going to set the local box-office on fire but I hope the film does find an audience. It’s a decent movie made on a shoe-string budget and it’s better than at least half of the films currently showing in cinemas. Give it a chance.