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The Slap: Australia’s Dramatic Maelstrom Comes to DVD | reviews, news & interviews

The Slap: Australia’s Dramatic Maelstrom Comes to DVD

The Slap: Australia’s Dramatic Maelstrom Comes to DVD

What’s on the surface only goes so deep

'The Slap': the moment after the spiral downwards begins

theartsdesk’s Howard Male pointed out that The Slap was overshadowed by BBC Four’s concurrent screening of The Killing. The arrival of the series on DVD brings an opportunity to brush off the lint that might have stuck to it and consider whether it will have a staying power. Will it become a box-set essential?

The Slap has divided opinion, especially on the theartsdesk. Reviewing the series after the final episode Howard Male summed up, saying “the fast, sharp script, naturalistic performances and slick but unobtrusive direction has made each episode as worthy of analysis and as nuanced as a substantial independent movie... The Slap knocked spots off The Killing. As the series opened, Adam Sweeting said: “The Slap was a veritable holocaust of the vanities... but on this first brief acquaintance, I don't know how much of this bunch I'll be able to stand”.

The bunch are the friends and family of Melbourne’s Hector, who’ve gathered for his 40th birthday. They’re a chippy, barely composed lot. Hector’s cousin Harry slapping a kid at the barbeque begins the spiral. Based on Christos Tsiolkas's novel (he's the associate producer), the series nails its literary colours by centring each of the eight episodes on the perspective of one participant, Rashomon style. Cumulatively, the effect is powerful, and The Slap is moreish viewing however horrible its characters.

On DVD, the series is spread across three discs, with the extras on the third. Unusually, no episodes have cast and crew commentaries. The raft of deleted scenes add little, and series of cast interviews (given the odd title Social Media Clips) are interesting insights into how the characters were played. But the 37-minute making-of is the one to watch. It opens with Tsiolkas explaining his real-life inspiration for the story. Producer Tony Ayres declares, “It’s a very interesting take on Australian suburbia.” You wouldn’t want to live in this particular suburbia, but make some space for it on the shelf.

Watch author Christos Tsiolkas discussing The Slap

 

 

The Slap's producer declares, 'It’s a very interesting take on Australian suburbia.' You wouldn’t want to live there

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