Straight To The Pool Room: A Love Letter To The Castle On Its 25th Anniversary

Most classic quotes such as ‘straight to the pool room’  and ‘How’s the serenity’ have gained fame and become incorporated into Australia’s way of speaking. These quotes come from one of the greatest Australian films, The Castle. The film was released in 1997.

 The Castle became immediately popular after its incredible debut. Its tremendous influence and reputation have grown, establishing it as the model Australian film. 

The Castle centers on a typical working-class household – the Kerrigans. It narrates the family’s legal clash against the government and greedy developers after an airport extension plan threatens their land and house. 

After the developers also target his neighbor’s land, Darryl Kerrigan, the head of the Kerrigan family, organizes a committee to protest against injustice. The committee hires Dennis Denuto, an inept solicitor, to fight the case. The committee fails due to Dennis Denuto’s primary defense, ‘it’s the vibe.’

It’s The Vibe

It’s The Vibe

The castle was filmed over eleven days. The budget was limited, and the film stars were primarily television and emerging actors such as Anne Tenney, Michael Caton, Eric Bana, Wayne Hope, and Stephen Curry. 

While it’s true that the film’s production values and visuals might have been uninspiring, they add up to a familiar and real-world vibe that makes it sensational. The best thing about the film is its characters, who can express the gentle and naive humor of the film through their dialogues. 

The Castle is loaded with dad jokes, cheap knick-knacks, humorous quotes, repetitive gags, parochial sayings, and bad puns. Darryl has good-natured and repetitive bits that add to the film’s humor. 

The Kerrigan’s humor is expressed through their joyful daily lives as all the members of the Kerrigan household have eternal optimism and positivity. They remain optimistic even after they lose the case and face eviction, with Dale Kerrigan pointing out that the busy airport would be convenient should they choose to fly in the future. 

Straight To The Pool Room

Straight To The Pool Room

In the film, the Kerrigans have similar values to the working class Aussie, which include anti-authoritarianism, battlers ethos, common sense, faith in natural justice, and political antipathy. Perhaps this explains why the film is still renowned – most Australians relate to and empathize with the characters. 

The Kerrigan household comprises ordinary Australians who are happy to be ordinary. Darryl works with the tow truck, and the Kerrigans have little cash. The house is constructed on a dumping ground, and the eldest son of the Kerrigans is locked in prison. 

Holidays are in a small country town called Bonnie Doon with a tiny shack and a lake – somewhere most people wouldn’t want to go on ‘vacation.’ However, the Kerrigans do not regard their holiday destination as bad. 

The film embraces the mentality that someone in the government or with a big business is ripping off the honest, working guy somewhere in the world. The father, Darryl Kerrigan, represents every hardworking and honest Australian battler who, at one point, was done over by the big guy. 

Underdog films and stories like The Castle are popular because everyone wants to see the tables turn on the prominent businessman or government official. Everyone wants the working man to win. 

Dale Has Dug A Hole

Dale Has Dug A Hole

However, The Castle is beyond such elementary classifications. The ongoing events portrayed in the film are a sideline compared to the household’s dynamics. The Kerrigans and community have an incredible bond that brings them together in all situations, whether good or bad. 

Everyone supports the other person. They celebrate each other’s achievements, whether small or insignificant. Their support is portrayed when the Kerrigans are proud after Dale digs a hole. 

The Kerrigans portray the quintessential family that everyone wants to have, which can be evidenced by the numerous anecdotes and character dialogues that have been embedded in Australians. If you haven’t watched The Castle, you are missing out.