SAM NEILL RETROSPECTIVE

Sleeping Dogs

Thursday 29th July 7.30pm | PG | 107m It’s 1977.
It’s 1977. Robert Muldoon is Prime Minister. Georgie Pie opens in Auckland. Kids watch Nice One Stu and Hey Hey It’s Andy on TV. The same year, Roger Donaldson directs Sam Neill and Ian Mune in Sleeping Dogs leaving us with a landmark in the maturing of New Zealand’s cinematic scene.
It is also the movie that launches Sam Neill’s career as an actor.
Smith is a man on the run, running from a broken marriage. Accidentally caught between two powers — a repressive Government and a violent resistance movement — he becomes a man alone…hunted and hostile, driven by the will to survive.
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Dead Calm

Friday 30th July 4pm | M Violence, offensive language & sex scenes | 96m

The movie that put many people off sailing into the sunset, Dead Calm is a tense thriller set at sea. Sam Neill as John Ingram is the loving husband to wife Rae, played by a young Nicole Kidman. Billy Zane stars as Hughie, apparently the sole survivor of a food poisoning incident, but really (spoiler alert) an unhinged killer. Director Philip Noyce ratchets up the tension and the Pacific Ocean provides the backdrop to the unfolding psychological drama. Dead Calm is a classic of its genre.
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Sweet Country

Friday 30th July 7:30pm | R16 Violence, sexual violence, offensive language & content that may disturb | 113m

A hard-hitting Australian movie with a Western flavour, Sweet Country tells the story of an Aboriginal man who kills a white farmer in self defence in the Northern Territory in the period after the First World War. Based on real events, it is an unflinching look at racism and other social issues still relevant today. Sam Neill portrays a kindly preacher, a rare example of civility surviving amid the harsh conditions and unforgiving landscape. Sweet Country is unsettling, evocative and beautifully filmed.
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My Brilliant Career

Saturday 31st July 5pm | G | 100m

In My Brilliant Career Gillian Armstrong directs her first feature film, a period drama that showcases some great Australian talent in Judy Davis and Wendy Hughes, complemented by a dashing young Sam Neill as the love interest. This classic and award-winning piece of Australian cinema is an early female-centric film. Upending the norms of a period romance, larrikin Sybylla (Davis) longs for the independence to pursue a career in the arts, while Harry (Sam Neill) is the handsome suitor offering her security and love via marriage.
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The Piano

Saturday 31st July, 7:30pm | M Sex scenes | 121m

This movie needs no introduction, so we will just remind you that the lush scenery, wonderful score, and fantastic direction by Jane Campion all lend themselves to the big screen. Immerse yourself in colonial New Zealand and soak up the stellar performances of a star-studded cast, including, of course, Sam Neill as Alisdair, the brutal settler who purchases Ada (Holly Hunter) as his wife and has no idea how to connect with her.
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Death in Brunswick

Sunday 1st August 2pm | M Violence & offensive language | 109m

One of Neill’s lesser-known movies, this dark comedy pairs two of New Zealand’s favourite sons — Sam Neill and his good friend the late John Clarke. Set in Melbourne, this black comedy caper with a dash of romance is considered a classic over the ditch. Featuring Turkish-Greek tensions, star-crossed lovers, and an-in-over-their-heads crime story, Death in Brunswick showcases Sam Neill’s comic skills like you’ve never seen them before.

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Dean Spanley

Sunday 1st August 5pm | PG Violence | 100m

A whimsical and offbeat comedy drama, Dean Spanley is at heart a movie about fathers and sons. It also happens to include musings on reincarnation, memories of the life of a dog, and the surprising effects of a powerful Hungarian wine. Sam Neill plays the affable titular character who entertains his companions, including Neill’s long time friend and colleague Bryan Brown, as he reveals his memories of his past life. The late Peter O’Toole also stars in this Toa Fraser-directed charmer of the 2009 film festival circuit.

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SAM NEILL RETROSPECTIVE

Central Cinema proudly presents a festival of seven films, handpicked by, and starring, our patron Sam Neill.
Treat yourself to excellent cinema, convivial company and a festival atmosphere.

With such a long and illustrious career behind him, it was difficult to narrow down the selection, but Sam chose these movies as representing some of his best work, coupled with fond memories of the shoots and working alongside some of his favourite people.

We begin where it all began for Sam as an acclaimed actor with Sleeping Dogs on Thursday 29th July at 7.30pm in his breakthrough role as Smith.

On Friday 30th July, we delve into the dark side with the thriller Dead Calm screening at 4pm and hard hitting Sweet Country (R16) at 7.30pm. With over an hour between movies you’ll have time to grab a quick bite to eat.

Our Saturday 31st July session presents two films in My Brilliant Career (5pm) and The Piano (7.30pm) directed by women, with strong lead female roles and Sam Neill as the solid supporting male. Both these films also offer amazing cinematography and look great on the big screen.

Finally, our Sunday 1st August offerings showcase Sam’s comic talents. Death in Brunswick at 2pm is an Australian crime caper, and we finish with the whimsical period piece Dean Spanley at 5pm.

We will be adding to the festival atmosphere through our food and beverage selection over the weekend, including a special treat if you come along to both sessions on one day.


Please show your support for Sam Neill and Central Cinema by attending as many sessions as you can.

All sessions are at normal prices for members ($12) and non members ($15).