Telemovies are hard to produce and market to make a storyline as precise as possible. Producer Richard Keddie has put together a terrific Australian cast and made a film based on former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
The film starts on Thursday 12 December 1991, giving a quick summary of what is about to be his eviction from Parliament. We’re introduced to a near perfect image of Richard Roxburgh playing Hawke. Looks, mannerisms, grey hair and all. We are then whisked to the past – 1977, Hawke is in his humble abode as President of the ALP. After a powerful speech and presentation, we see the side of Hawke which made him relate to the typical Australian bloke – the pub. From there, Hawke’s adultery is exposed with Blanche d’Alpuget, played by Asher Keddie, the future second wife after Hazel Hawke, played by Rachael Blake.
When we think that Hawke is a drinking, chain smoking womanizer, we’re shown his sensitive side, where his elderly mother is on her death bed. We discover that the death of his mother was one of the main influences to become Prime Minister. To do that, he plans to undo current PM Malcolm Fraser, with a Prices and Income policy and the power of the unions. However, he discovers the terrible news that his plans have been rejected, from Kim Beazley, played by Patrick Brammall.
Just when Hawke thinks it’s nearly over, Hazel approaches Hawke and informs him that she’s aware of the affair with Blanche, but will stick with him throughout everything, despite being a tortured soul.
Eventually, tables turn for Hawke, tags Paul Keating along the way (played by Felix Williamson), and with the highest approval rating of 75%, ends up being Prime Minister in 1983. From there, the duo introduce some terrific economic reforms and makes the Australian public fall in love with him.
Then, his private life starts to crumble away. His heroin addicted daughter makes headlines, which starts chipping away at his work. Keating covers Hawke’s backside, but starts to wonder if Hawke is still fit to be PM. After cleaning the dirty work, Keating is furious when Hawke decides to stay on. Hawke is warned numerous times that Keating will challenge him, but determined to fight to the end, faces Keating head on.
The rest – is history.
The casting of the movie is second to none. The likenesses and mannerisms done by the cast makes the performances so accurate that you’d get sucked into a time warp of actually being there. Roxburgh has nailed Hawke so perfectly, it’s scary. No major Liberal MPs are represented in the film, only by archival footage.
The movie was shown to Hawke himself, who accepted the film as is, but a main contributor was from MP Kim Beazley, who felt that the story should be told. Even if you’re not one for politics, this is a definite watch. (look out for small appearances by a hairy Josh Lawson too. The bathroom walkman scene is amusing)
I wonder what John Howard is thinking now? “Where’s my movie?”
Hawke. 8:30pm Sunday 18 July – Channel 10