The Dish (2000)

(In theaters, July 2001) Little-seen Australian comedy well worth tracking down for a pleasant diversion. Taking place in 1969, during the first mission to the Moon, it concerns the efforts of a few technicians to keep the Moon-Earth relay open despite difficulties. Given that said link (the title “Dish”) is in a little Australian community, you can expect a quasi-nostalgic portrait of a small town. It may not sound like much fun, but it’s actually quite charming. There’s even some material for deeper reflection about the importance of creating cultural mementoes for later generations, but only if you like to overanalyze your films. The biggest flaw of The Dish is that it’s based on a true story, and as such has to contend with structural difficulties. (For instance, that the film’s most dramatic moment comes maybe halfway through, after which we’re almost left wondering “what else?”). The conclusion is weaker than it should; there was ample room for a what-happened-next epilogue, but unfortunately we’re left wondering. Still, a good film for everyone, and a unexpected treat for space-nuts in particular.

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