Troubled Sydney medical student Ross (Peter Phelps) decides to head north after encountering trouble with the police and a bikie gang who look like ridiculous extras from Mad Max (1979).
He wants to discover more about the long-dead father he never knew, so he visits the small coastal town of Wundarra to see his mother’s old friend Robbie (Vince Martin), an easy-going guy who makes surfboards and shares a makeshift shack on the beach with his Aboriginal mate and business partner Davie (David Ngoombujarra).
Ross has a few run-ins with the local cops (who like planting cocaine on people they don’t like), politely fends off the menopausal advances of Helen (Abigail), a bucolic matron seeking solace from her war-torn marriage with Neville (John Clayton), wonders when the bikies are going to catch up with him, and contemplates the possibility of a life without hassles.
With its antique slang and faith echoes of Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Breaking Loose has the solemn air of having been made by very dull, conservative, middle-aged people who have convinced themselves – against all the evidence of their own film – that they are tuned in to how the kids of the day think, behave and feel.
The film – unashamedly made for the teen market – is a notional follow-up to Summer City (1977), which starred Mel Gibson.
Sandra Lee Paterson
John De Ville
Murf the Surf