Indeed, the darkest threads of the story are not big bangs, but little notes which underscore how much is compromised in a world where corporate power, financial disparity, resource shortages and dramatic climate shifts have taken their toll.

In this world, power outages mean more than overhead fans which slow to a stop, or television screens which blink off, but rather complete city shutdowns in which everything falls quiet and the rustle of the trees suddenly takes on a menacing feel. Here, human movement between resource-dead regions and overbuilt capital cities is near-overwhelming, and drones patrol the streets, scanning faces to distinguish between residents and visitors; that is, those who have permission, and those who do not.

Like most narratives in this genre, the material itself comes a little overcooked. In the hands of lesser actors it might all unravel. But Froggatt and Lyons give an emotional complexity to Eadie and Lloyd that quickly draws you into the heart of their pain. Lyons, in particular, is an actor of great nuance. And Herriman, one of Australia’s most gifted talents, tears himself apart as a soldier, broken on the battlefield, who has returned to civilian life with his own shattered self barely put back together.

The Commons is a slow play. Earle Dresner’s cinematography is rich and compelling, as is Tim Ferrier’s production design, which captures sharply the fractured, near-future world. The story unfurls calmly, almost clinically, but smartly stays tight on the human notes – Eadie’s fertility, Ben’s sanity – without losing its way in the political and social themes.

The Commons
Stan, on demand



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