Entertainment and Arts

The Castle: When a New Migrant Watches the Aussie Classic

By: Russ Matthews

When our family moved to Australia close to two decades ago, friends suggested we watch an Australian classic, The Castle.

It’s the story of the Kerrigan family, who were threatened by developers to move from their home as the neighbouring airport was about to be expanded. Yet, the reason for the suggestion was meant to introduce us to the comedic style and battler mentality that represents the heart of everyday Australians.

Upon viewing this 1997 classic for the first time, our family found it difficult to understand the humour and ‘vibe’ of this ‘Darryl (Michael Caton) versus Goliath’ tale. Still, as we navigated our new homeland, we noticed how this film permeated conversations and gave us a cultural link to the Aussie spirit.

When our friends would mention serenity, the pool room, and Bonnie Doon, there was a wink from those delivering the line, which showed how this film had permeated the soul of this nation. As our family revisited Darryl Kerrigan’s story in the following years, our family began to truly appreciate the endearing twists and turns of this low-budget Australian cinematic gem.

Nothing can prepare those who have never had the opportunity to engage with this comedic narrative of family life in the average Australian home. Starring Aussie legends like Michael Caton, Anne Tenney, Stephen Curry, and Eric Bana, the only suggestion is to experience for yourself.

The Kerrigans’ battle for their home is secondary to the beautifully innocent depiction of a family who appreciate all they have been given and find the silver lining in every aspect of their life. For those outside the Sunburnt Country’s boundaries, most of this film’s comedy may take much work to fully embrace or comprehend. Still, you can grasp the ‘vibe’ of this wonderful journey into the Aussie spirit and the uniqueness of mateship, family and the place we call home.

The Castle should be required on the Australian citizenship application. Even if those immigrating here do not understand the story initially, this amazing film will get you through many conversations with your Australian friends. Ah, the serenity. This film should go straight to the pool room and make us all want to dig a few holes in the backyard. Why? Just because we can, right Dale? That’s my story.

REEL DIALOGUE: A person’s home is their castle

What is our fascination with getting ‘home’? In The Castle, we see the desire to protect all that we hold dear in that place we call home. The desire for solace and safety is ingrained into the core of humanity. Interestingly, a house cannot always provide for these needs.

Thankfully, the Bible does not leave us without answers to this drive to get home. A key theme in Christianity is the notion of ‘homecoming,’ but what is understood is that ‘home’ is not merely found in a building or even in the bodies we have been given. These things are a temporary reflection of something bigger and eternal. The ultimate home can only be found with God Himself, and He is where things begin and end.

For those searching for their home in this life, you might need to begin your search in the words of God, who can direct you home.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2

If you would like to discuss themes from The Castle reach out to us at Third Space. We would love to chat with you about this and more.


Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.

Images: Movie stills

About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.

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