Pallet on the Floor (1984)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Lynton Butler Reviewer :
Writers Martyn Sanderson, Lynton Butler, Robert Rising (novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson)
Starring Bruce Spence, Peter McCauley, Jillian O'Brien, John Bach, Marshall Napier
Genre Murder
Tagline None Listed
15 second cap Murder by misadventure sees a group of freezing workers in trouble with the law, blackmailers, and the local strumpet.


"Deep down all of us want a pallet on the floor" - Basil

Sam lives in 1960s small town New Zealand without much to look forward to. He's a seasonal worker at the local freezing works, is getting married to his just pregnant girlfriend, and has enemies in town by way of the Boots brothers. There's some simmering resentment going down as Jack Boot lusts after Sue, Sam's girlfriend, and Miriam married someone else but really wants to run away with Sam. Adding to the problems going down are the local teen chicks who seem intent on flashing their knickers at every conceivable opportunity.

Along with Basil and a couple of other mates Sam heads to the pub after work for long drinking sessions leaving Sue along at their isolated farm. Jack takes advantage of this one night with some violent rape on his mind, thankfully the pub crew have called an early night for once and arrive at Sam's place in time to stop Jack from carrying out his evil intent. Unfortunately in the resulting melee Jack is accidentally killed and this is witness by Miriam. Worse follows as Sam is blackmailed, and Jack's elder brother also ends up dead, things aren't look good for Sam and Sue. Let's rattle our dags on this one.

Bruce Spence headlines this woefully inept outing from New Zealand that promises a few things through the opening scene and then steadfast refuses to deliver on those promises. Spence plays a Brit loitering around down in the Colonies but completely fails to go anywhere near nailing the role. Spence's character Basil is needed to carry a lot of the movie, but the Actor fails to really live up to the requirement putting undue pressure on Peter McCauley who muddles his way through a New Zealand blue collar character without standing out in any fashion. Unfortunately every single Actor throws on fairly wooden performances with the odd extra being atrociously bad. Director Butler completely fails to fire up his cast and as such is left with a movie that lumbers along with no emotion and no feeling, which is kind of sad considering there's a lot of talent in front of the camera in minor roles. About the only person missing is Bruno Lawrence who has to be satisfied with score duties.

Sorry this really is second rate movie making in most aspects.

An inept attempt at a period movie that really doesn't do much with an establich Cast list
Director Butler opens his movie in strong fashion, a deserted beach either at dawn or dusk with a young woman walking along it. The opening gambit is evocative and hints at great things to come. Unfortunately there's nothing much else headed our way. Butler goes for the odd overhead shoot, and some overlays, but doesn't invest any more emotion in the movie than that shown by his Cast. There's an overabundance of farmyard animal shoots and scenes of seagulls, but nothing is made of this aspect beyond one feels some padding to reach feature length. The establishing scene has made us aware of an isolated community with some troubled water under the radar, really labouring this point is simply lazy film making.

The pacing of Pallet on the Floor is all over the shop without at any stage picking up and driving towards a solid enough confrontation or resolution that will give you good thoughts as the end credits roll. The first block of the movie drags like a French impressionist movie on downers, the middle block rolls along with things happening rather than being made to happen, and the final block throws up a resolution to the trials and tribulations that really isn't going to satisfy anyone. It's more relief that the movie is finally at an end than anything else as the final credots roll.

One of the things that is done right with Pallet on the Floor is the period setting, two thumbs up to the props department. We get plenty of period clothes, cars, and the settings are simply dripping with 1960s Kiwiana. Particularly rocked to Lux and Rinso clothes detergents being prominently displayed at one stage. At no time did I detect anything that looked out of place.

Equally the freezing work scenes simply dripped with authenticity, and if you haven't had the pleasure of spending some quality time on the slaughter line then you might just find this part of the movie disturbing. Guess rather than setting up a make belief line the Director went with the real thing and showed what happens as sheep get processed into cold cuts for your local supermarket. Though once again showing the knocking off time whistle twice seemed slightly redundant.

Guess that's about all I have to say about this one, the movie didn't light up any fires around my place as it didn't really make any sort of statement or provide anything like a mystery to be solved. No recommendation, except maybe for those filling out their Kiwi movie dance card.

Forgot to mention that Jonathon Crayford, Bruno Lawrence, Barry Johnstone provide a funky urban orientated jazz score that will have you rocking on with the soundscape. The theme song is definitely worth dialling in for, must track that one down.

Also forgot to mention we get boobs and plenty of flashing knickers as Kiwiploitation kicks in.

If after a copy of the movie then you are going to be scratching around as there hasn't been a DVD release as yet.

For additional information check out Kiwi movie central nzvideos where your host for the evening, Charles, will probbaly supply more information about Pallet on the Floor than you want to know.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  This really is woeful film making