Genres are CrimeDramaMyst Produced in 2011, Australia
nderbelly is a 13-part Australian television mini-series that retells the real events of the 19952004 gangland war in Melbourne, and is first series in the larger Underbelly Franchise. It depicts the key players in Melbournes criminal underworld, including the Carlton Crew and their rival, Carl Williams. The series is based on the book Leadbelly Inside Australias Underworld, by The Age journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule, and is produced by the Australian Film Finance Corporation, in association with Film Victoria. The executive producers are Des Monaghan and Jo Horsburgh.
06 May 2013
Plenty has been written elsewhere on this site about "Underbelly" sothere is no need for me to detail the plot or the relationship to realevents. My purpose is to comment on the other commentaries. A few yearsago, Screen time produced a mini-series based on the Bryce Courtenaynovel "Jessica". It was aired on the 10 Network in Australia,presumably to boost their Australian drama quota. It bombed despitebeing of excellent quality. The reason was that the Ten Networkaudience has different expectations from the ABC audience. The sameapplies to "Underbelly". Though it has certainly rated well and is thetalk of the office every Thursday morning, I can't help feeling that itwould have been even more appreciated by those whose dials are rustedon to the ABC. Those who have commented here about low productionvalues and those who have compared the show to "The Sopranos" give awaytheir expectations as typical Nine Network viewers. They like slick,tightly scripted programs, typically produced by American networks.Thank heavens "Underbelly" didn't get the "Days of Our Lives"treatment. I feel that I know the characters in "Underbelly". Theincidents and the people are straight out of the national newsbulletins. This is a dramatised documentary in many ways. "TheSopranos", popular though it may be, is candy-coated fiction incomparison. Give me reality, rough with warts, any day.
05 May 2013
What makes this watching (and I have a few episodes to go) is the realstory behind it, not so much the acting and production values (thoughthey vary in their quality).In terms of writing and complexity of character, or the intensity ofthe acting, this is no Sopranos, nor even the earlier brilliantAustralian crime series (also based on reality), Janus and Phoenix.Unfortunately, most of the actors playing the crims, especially VinceColossimo playing Alphonse Gangitano, draw from standard "bad guy"characterization, and as a result come across as two dimensional andcartoony. In many ways, this could be an extended episode of "BlueHeelers". It's very old school - don't give criminals any redeeminghuman values, just make them look like pantomime villains. OK, maybethat's harsh, but this is not a series which is breaking any newground.Putting those gripes aside, I'll certainly watch this through to theend - it is very watchable, and the fact that it is reality, not just"based on a true story" more than makes up for any weaknesses.
04 May 2013
i thought this might be quite rushed. However I disagree with othercomments here..Each episode drags you into the underworld of the famous ganglandkillings in Melbourne.I really like that Caroline Craig narrates. At points in this drama itdoes make you feel quite upset and also sad.There are a lot of familiar faces if you have watched AustralianTV/movies before.I am currently up to episodes 8 and it's getting better with everyepisode.I think it takes a few episodes to get into it.
03 May 2013
Underbelly is Australia's answer to The Sopranos, obviously due to TheSopranos being a HBO show with a much larger budget and scope,Underbelly is always going to seem lower-budget to it. Underbellyhowever, with its smaller budget has more to go by in terms of valueand authenticity. Whilst The Sopranos is based on a real Mafia Crimefamily based out of New Jersey named the DeCavalcante Crime Family,however it only uses this as the basis for the show and not followreal-life events of the its real counter-part.Underbelly however, does the opposite and tries to do its bestfollowing and depicting the real events of the story of Underbelly. Thereal murders, the real shootings and accounts that have been written inmany books about Australian organised crime. Series one of Underbelly,simply "Underbelly" charts the infamous Melbourne Gangland War of 1995and lasted until 2004. Following accounts, and evidence released thefirst series portrays the events leading up the bloody turf war overMelbourne's drug trade.This is done well, seeing as this is to date the more current andrecent portrayal of the crimes, as the other series portray the 1970'sand 1980's. Most of the cast, is obviously veterans of Australian soapsand television dramas so it can be excused if some of these actors andactresses don't match up to James Gandolfini's status in The Sopranos.This is evident with the designated real-life portrayals in the show ofthe gang bosses, and top men in the underworld. They do air theirpresence on the show, the power they wield of life and death and eventhe respect from their men. Particularly the brutal real-life Melbournegang boss Alphonse Gangitano perfectly portrayed by Vince Colosimo whohas gone on to many more projects since even in America.For series one of Underbelly, the Melbourne Gangland War is wellportrayed from the brutal murders that fanned the flames of the war, tothe arrests, and even the trials near to the end of the feud with asmaller budget for an Australian drama. Then "Underbelly: A Tale of TwoCities" was aired, set between the years of 1976 and 1987 showingevents of organised crime in the cities of New South Wales and Victoriain Australia. A Tale of Two Cities, portrays the events of the rocky, yet profitableeleven years of organised crime, and partnership of two criminalfigures; Australian Mafioso Bob Trimbole and New Zealand HeroinImporter Terry Clarke. A profitable time in Australian organised crime,the show portrays their rise and fall well taking into the account ofthe change of decades with sets, clothing and filming. A Tale of TwoCities, feels like Boardwalk Empire for Australians but in the 1970'sand 1980's.Both characters of Bob Trimbole and Terry Clarke are well portrayed onscreen, by their counter-parts and you can see a rise in quality actingthat could put even a few Crime Dramas in America to shame. The showstays faithful to the true events of those years depicted, the murdersand even government enquiries into police corruption. The policecorruption is well portrayed, and even opens an even more interestingsub-plot that brought the real corrupted police officers in Australiadown for drug trafficking, and even murder.With a change of scenery, another more recent sequel has been releasednamed "Underbelly: The Golden Mile" portraying the events of 1988 to1999 around the infamous King's Cross in Sydney. "The Golden Mile" doeswell to show us events leading up to the original "Underbelly" seriesof the Melbourne Gangland War, as some events cross over andinter-merge together. Police corruption was rife, and is welldocumented in this third series with police investigations into moneylaundering, drug trafficking and murder by Sydney Police Officers.Again characters, real events, murders and trials are well portrayedperhaps to a little extent I feel "The Golden Mile" is second to "ATale of Two Cities." This is maybe due to having a real feel of 1970'sgangland in Australia, and the sudden move to the 1990's with "TheGolden Mile." However characters, the acting and writing are stillsublime in third season, and may in some areas be better than seriesone as the police corruption plot is expanded.Finally of television series released, "Underbelly: Razor" has beenaired quite recently and portrays the years of 1927 to 1936 and is theearliest portrayal of Australian organised crime in the series.Portraying the events of early gangland in Sydney, and infamous Razorgangs who used shaving Razors as weapons in their fight for dominance.Currently I have yet to get my hands on a DVD release of "Underbelly:Razor" to watch, but from reviews I had heard it is a good addition tothe series.As of note, a trilogy of three TV-films were aired and releaseddepicting other events of crime from other parts of Australia. Thisseries continuously becomes larger and ever expanding, which I love andcan only hope more for the future. Give it a go, if you have an openmind and want to enjoy gangster films, and shows about other countries.
28 April 2013
Just wanted to respond to some people's comments on how bad Underbellyis, well it completely hooked me in! I was quite hesitant at firstbecause I often don't go for Aussie dramas, but saw half of the firstepisode by chance and am officially addicted.Others have been saying it's like watching an episode of Neighbours,well maybe that's because so many of the actors in it had their startsin Neighbours or Home and Away. That's not to say the acting is as badas in these soap operas. I was pleasantly surprised with the actor'sabilities and portrayals of the characters. I was impressed with howmany of the actors looked very similar to the people they wereportraying.
27 April 2013
As a rule although I love many an Australian actor I usually hate thewriting/production. Underbelly has changed all of that for me and I'llbe revisiting some other Aussie dramas that previously I've writtenoff. The acting is great, the soundtrack is really great, the writingmakes the whole story easy to follow. I'm seriously impressed and can'twait to see the last few episodes. I've got the book and the miniseries is fairly accurate, but it's important to remember that this isa dramatization and not a doco so some differences are to be expected.roberta is a crack up. alex dimitriades as Mr T, hooooooooot. DinoDibra, wasn't until I looked on here and saw he was on h&a that Ifigured out who on H&A and why he was so familiar, very impressive. you*SHOULD* watch it.
22 April 2013
Maybe i had set expectations to high before watching the 1st ep.I washoping for something that would maybe stack up against the likes of"Blue Murder" but from the 1st ep,I really am not holding my breath.The acting is sub par for the most part, really i thought i waswatching Neighbours one half of the time and Stingers(more Aussie crap)the other half.The writing doesn't seem to be much better.The camerawork is atrocious, a lot of the hand held "move the camera excessivelyand abuse the crapola outta the zoom" nypdpoo style going on.I guessthey do it to try and make uninteresting scenes more interesting,sadlyit fails all of the time and just annoys.I'm sure this mediocre tripe will do OK rating wise because of all thehype surrounding it and the ban etc.But it really is nothing special,not so far at least.....UPDATE:People were quick to judge and say how can you rate something onthe 1st 2 eps,well after having seen all the eps, it only gotworse,MUCH worse.Far to much T&A (don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, just its mindlessfiller...)Its obvious which demographic they were hoping to get in theviewing audience...From the NSW number plates on the vehicles to all the breathing deadpeople, this show is just rubbish!I've seen films made by high schoolkids that are better than this. See revised (lower) rating....This may well be the best show channel 9 has ever aired, but thats notsaying anything,they love to show unwatchable tripe,underbelly is justthe lesser of evils.Anybody remember Chances? Underbelly is like Chances with guns!
22 April 2013
Solid Aussie drama. All actors in good form, but top marks go to toKat, who plays Roberta - hilarious. Vince Colosimo as the Black Princewas also a standout.The direction and editing may upset the purists, I reckon its edgy andappropriate.There are some cheesy moments, like at the end when the Purana mob areall walking over the hill in slow mo to arrest Carl (scene savedhowever by an angry Roberta mouthing a slow mo "f*** off"!). Much has be written about the "reality" of the show and the gratuitoussex scenes - but all in all its crackin' good tele!Comparisons to Blue Murder and the Sopranos (and Scorsese?) are agiven, but Underbelly stands up fine on its own.PS - Loved the soundtrack.
19 April 2013
First of all I am a Sopranos fanatic of the highest order, I've boughtall the DVDs for all seasons. Hence with such a "refined" palate forthe genre I really didn't have high expectations of this Aussieprogram. In fact when TV3 screened it earlier this year (or was it lastyear?) here in NZ, I missed it. I caught up with the recent rerun onthe same TV channel (also bought the DVD). And boy! I'm glad I didbecause it is absolutely fantastic... Now, I saw a few "nah, it ain'tall that" comments here but as 1)a Kiwi who is very frugal with anypraise directed at anything or anybody Australian and 2)an out and outSopranos fanatic I'll tell you this is one awesome show, right up therewith the Sopranos. If anything, I think it's even better especiallywith its "life is even more mind-bogglingly stranger than fiction"story. Full credit to the film crew and sound editor; they nailed someemotionally- moving scenes with the cinematography and soundtrack.Underbelly is the only Mafia-style program/movie that has moved me totears because of its poignant moments of futility, stupidity andsorrow. Bravo!!!
19 April 2013
Only mild spoilers ---- I was looking forward to Underbelly for many weeks. The advertisingcampaign was fantastic and the banning in Victoria definitely helpedthis. With all respect to the parties involved in the currentlitigation, I am only commenting on the artistry of this project morethan anything related to the events it represents.Underbelly is correctly based on a true story about the ganglandbattlegrounds of Melbourne Victoria. This is quite a powerful story andquite possibly something that will be marked for the crime library ofAustralian history.This is only a comment on the pilot episode, so I'm unsure of how therest of the series is going to be. I understand that it is wrong insome cases to even begin to comment on an entire series just on thestrength of a pilot so I will only comment for the pilot.The opening of this series felt weak. So weak that it was almostembarrassing. It was only thanks to Vince Collosimo's performance, thatit held together. Even so, with dialog that was undoubtedly written bya soap opera professional, it was amazing to see that all of thisalmost worked. The violence was not that violent considering the camp"Terminator SCC" was on immediately afterwords and left it for dead.The sexual content is about as sexy as a bad hand-job. I don't knowwhat the tabloids are trying to enforce because the Direction on theseareas were mild. Doesn't matter much on this point though, we know thatthis kind of thing doesn't make up for a good story. Now, a lot of theintroductions to these characters were almost comical, like a lockstock and 2 smoking barrels kind of slating for gang members. This feltcheap, it looked cheap and it was unintimidating in any way. If thiswas an attempt to make us aware of a possible "coolness" to come fromthese characters, then it just wasn't right.One begs to wonder whether this series needs or now needed a betterDirector and a better cinematographer or should I say a videographer.(Well, it felt like that anyway) Maybe even a better writer, because alot of our actors here deserve way better than this. I think some ofthe most unfortunate and lifeless work was lingering around the gangmeeting scenes at the sports arena (or was it a racecourse?) But apartfrom this, there are definite believable and smooth moments. I hopemore of these moments occur and I must say I am somewhat interested inseeing more of Gyton Grantley who looks exactly like Carl Williams inreal life. There are more episodes to come and I look forward to eating my ownwords. For a TV mini series, it's not over till the fat lady sings -but so far, I'm hearing a scratchy record loop.
16 April 2013
Now firstly I can't help but to roll my eyes at reviewers slating theseries having not watched the whole series! I can think of plenty ofseries that didn't grip me with the first episodes but I gave it a go &it was splendid.I moved to Australia 9 months ago so I didn't know any of the historyof the gangland wars beyond seeing on the news here that they wereextraditing Tony Mokbel for murder after his dramatic escape to Greece(series 2 perhaps?).I've watched the whole series & it was bloody excellent. I live inMelbourne & it was interesting to see the locations I recognised. Nowwhat really made this great imo is that I've met people who wereexactly like the characters portrayed, they were believable everydaypeople - therefore it felt realistic.Perhaps it's not as slickly produced as the Sopranos but I'd imaginethe budget is rather different. "Underbelly" - being set in Australiahad an entirely feel - a real Aussie vibe compared to US vibe whichmade it interesting. Both series are excellent in their own differentways.Highly recommended viewing!
15 April 2013
On one level, this second UNDERBELLY series is a promising characterstudy of Terry Clark (Newton), who is portrayed as ruthless andunrepentant. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the narrative ishis relationship with Alison Dyne (Hutchinson), a kindergarten teacherhe seduces and who becomes, in effect, Clark's right-hand figure in themanagement of his importation and distribution activities. A notoriouswomaniser, Clark's gift for manipulation seems to have enabled him tosuspend what some Freudian psychoanalysts call the "third object" Âhumans' inner awareness that a relationship between two people existsalso in relation to external realities. This type of analysis of A TALEOF TWO CITIES is, at least on its own, far too generous. Mostly, theseries relies Â unnecessarily Â on the populism of pornographicvoyeurism. In what can only be a kind of slant-eyed nod to the screenculture of the 1970s, most of the young female characters appeartopless and in prolonged sex scenes, and sections of dialogue-drivenplot detail take place in strip clubs so that viewers with lessinterested in the finer details of the storyline Â what little there isÂ can admire the 'scenery'. 23-year-old former Power Ranger Hutchinsonmanages to appear nude or semi-nude in most of her scenes in theseries' first half. Far more disturbing than the soft-core stuff is thefrequent intersplicing of sex, nudity and extreme violence: more thanonce we are treated to scenes of graphic murder cut with bedroomscenes, presumably to hammer home a point about Clark's seemingly splitpersonality, or the fact that his use of women Â for pleasure andbusiness Â is driven by the same sadism as his propensity forretributive homicide and mutilation. There is often a fine line betweendramatisation and glorification, but with its consistent and deliberateuse of televisual devices which are aimed at the carnal elements inhuman nature it is fairly clear this series tends strongly to thelatter. New Zealand journalist Pat Booth, whose investigative workhelped crack the heroin ring featured in the series, was reportedly"sickened" by its glamorisation of criminals and confirmed that it is"riddled with fiction and omissions". It is a shame that Screen timeand other creators went for cheap thrills over substance (though thenotoriously low-brow Australian commercial TV industry would hardlyhave had it otherwise). Billing's own motivation for taking the role ofAussie Bob was the 1995 death of his 20-year-old son Simon who,suffering symptoms of schizophrenia Billing believes was triggered byhis use of marijuana and other "recreational" drugs, suicided bystepping off a building roof in Auckland. Some fans have laudedUnderbelly as an Australian version of The SOPRANOS Â the US serialwhich kicked off the recent wave of long-run cinematic televisioncrime-drama which includes THE WIRE - but A TALE OF TWO CITIES lookscheap and nasty by comparison. Viewers would be better advised to turnto much earlier, local experiments in long-run TV crime such as thebrilliant PHOENIX.
13 April 2013
I'm not as far as season three of Underbelly, however i've watchedseason one and two fully and can give it a high vote due to its storylines and of course well driven action. Yes the acting is questionablebut what do you expect, the cast have mainly come from soaps over in OZand many haven't had the success most of us are used to in our TVshows. Firstly season one, which was centered around the gang war inMelbourne from 1994 to 2004 and although not fully realistic to thetrue events it did a good job in my view.Season two dealt with the past of the criminal underworld, prior toseason one. So you have quite a mix of action, from modern to past andwith some if not great but good enough acting the characters areportrayed well. I say as alike to The Sopranos, but only because of thesetting and environment. The action is hectic and violent, Underbellydoes not mince around when showing us the grim picture of the events ofthe show.For Australians, yes Underbelly is their answer to The Sopranos just asAmerica has it. For Australians this is a good show, and I never gotbored of it as I watched episode after episode. I would recommend it tofans of The Sopranos who have an open mind, and want to see organisedcrime from another country's view. This is nowhere near to the qualityof The Sopranos, The Shield or even The Wire which we all know of butits good enough television to keep us entertained and interested.
12 April 2013
It is called the Australian Sopranos. There are two problems with thistag: Underbelly is not as good as Sopranos and, unlike Sopranos, it isall too real.I am a Melburnian. I have worked in Carlton for seven years. Most ofthe members of the Carlton Crew were familiar to me, although I havenever met any of them. Alphonse Gangitano was often referred to as theRobert de Niro of the Lygon Street Â not after the actor, whatever hisreal personality is, but after the characters he played in films likeGoodfellas and Godfather Part 2. It was obvious to all that have knownhim that Gangitano was imitating art and this was true for the rest ofthe so called "crew". On the other side of the non-existent proverbialfence were the suburban kids that had not known a life without violenceÂ Dino, Benji, CarlÂ Melbourne has been mentioned more than once in thepast decade as the 'most livable city in the world. It cannot be toofar from the truth. It has the most of the charms of the best cities ofthe globe Â from New York to Paris to Barcelona Â without theiraccompanying woes. It also has a dark side, as dark as anything thatyou would find in Detroit, Marseilles, or Bangkok. Between 1994 and2005, this alter ego of the city crept into surface of the cultured,intellectual and tolerant Melbourne. True to the title of BugsySiegel's biography 'they only killed their own' (mostly) but they didin broad daylight, in front of children, suburban mothers and 'morethan innocent'bystanders. One of the safest cities in the world wassuddenly in the spotlight as one of the most violent until the forcesof the light (played by the detectives of Purana task force) put a stopto it.What we know is that most of these hard men who lived as if there wasno law, no rules, no morals and no tomorrow, also lived life as if theywere actors in a movie. The news footage of the funerals (and therewere more than two dozen of them) could as well have been taken fromthe episodes of Sopranos. They idolized the likes of the fictionalcharacters in films such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas,Godfather trilogy, and Sopranos, because this is what drug dealers,bank robbers and career killers do between 'jobs', workouts andfornication: They watch films. It was life imitating art imitatinglife. Those, like me, who watched the whole scene unfolding in front ofthem (I used to live in the apartment building that was 200 metres fromthe club where Lewis Moran met his end) with a fascination bordering onthe perverse, wondered about the price of real freedom. Were these menreally evil or were they simply more courageous than the rest of us?Perhaps, they were bothÂ My middle-class friends looked at me withexpressions ranging from surprise to disgust when I posed the questionto them, only half joking.Underbelly is a flawed series in a number of ways. Producers'insistence on choosing actors both with local popularity and a strikingresemblance to their real-life counterparts takes its toll on thequality of the acting. It is, to say the least, uneven. So are thescriptsÂ Way too much emphasis on fornication, after the point is wellmade, and too much pondering on the popular taste formed by our, nowworld-famous, serials: Neighbours and Home and Away.Let me assure the viewers foreign to the current affairs of fairMelbourne: All the public incidents in these series have reallyhappened and their recreation is eerily similar to reality.
17 March 2013
What can I say about 9's Underbelly? Best Australian TV show of thedecade, so far, for a start. Unlikely to be out done. Channel 9'sUnderbelly is the most significant piece of Televisual cinematic art tograce our tube's since Blue Murder. Comparable to a hyper active seasonof The Soprano's, it is a major classic series that depicts the 25 orso murders of the Melbourne gangland wars.At the center of the series is Carl Williams character/ real life OG,played portly and excellently by Gyton Grantley. William's is given aninteresting character arc, starting as a lowly Moran driver and slowlymoving into producing his own Ecstasy tablets and cornering the marketby under selling the competition. Into Williams life comes Roberta,played with a bravora performance by Kat Stewart. She is a gutter mouthshrew who eggs Williams on to bigger crimes and higher times. Togetherthey are the crazed heart of the show. A suburban Bonnie and Clyde.They are completely mythologized in the show. The real Carl and RobertaWilliams say they were nothing like the pair, but it doesn't matter toomuch. The on screen pair are classic gangster characters, reborn,Melbourne style late 90's... in tracky daks and pushing prams, whileplanning hits.I should say apart from a few small minor bad apples, the show isexceptionally well cast. Vince Colosimo was born to play AlphonseGangitano and gives a great opening to the show. If only we could haveseen more Vince, but as we all know the Gangitano murder sparked offthe war, so he bows out early in his designer suits and tassledloafers. Les Hill and Callam Mulvey nail the Moran brothers... all oldschool gangster machismo and violence. They are the old power inMelbourne that Williams is out to overcome and then silence after theyshoot him in the gut fatefully one afternoon. Kevin Harrington is trulysuperb as Lewis Moran, he looks and acts just like the real deal fromnews footage. As an aging gangster in over his head and torn apart byfamily tragedy, Harrington is excellent. Damian Walshe Howling iscentral also as Benji Veniaman, a hit-man with divided loyalties. Kindof like a better looking Scott Ryan from The Magician, Benji is a majorcatalyst in the war with the Carlton crew. The Carlton crew are led (inthe show!!) by what appears to be its Godfather Mick Gatto (anothergreat thesp turn by Simon Westaway, capturing the Gatto mannerisms andfront). Gatto is the mysterious man at the top of the Carlton tree. Anold school gangster, with style and a peace maker, essentially. Theviolent war shocks him and he does his best to cool the heads of theyounger hooligans. Westaway's Gatto is a man of cool respect and one onone Violence only... in the Benji confrontation scene. He is the foilto Williams wild colonial E dealer. Side kick to Gatto is MarioCondello, spot on portrayed by Martin Sacks in probably his best roleyet. Condello is a loan shark and money man forced into the big chairof the Carlton crew when Gatto is arrested for Benji's shooting and onthe run from William's endless supply of hit men. Throw in an amazingensemble, see cast list and you have gangster gold.Add to all this mayhem from the characters above the Keystone cops ofThe Purana task force. The best character is Steve Owen, who wants tobend the rules to catch these guys and stop the war and murders. RodgerCorser plays Owen as an edgy cop ready to go toe to toe (if anybodywould let him) with William's and crew. You wonder why he wasn'tallowed to? Indeed, the accusation of the Police sitting around andletting these crims bump themselves off seems somewhat validated in theshow. Many scenes where the Police know a hit is happening but fail toswoop on suspects until after the alleged murder (due to someunbelievable technical difficulty) are shown here. Sort of making themaccessories of sorts (by incompetence, generally) in the crimes theyare trying to stop. Frankie Holden's Detective Butterworth is a shortbreed eating 'by the book', discombobulated by events head of Puranaand Caroline Craig's Jacquie James, is the perfunctory female cop, alaBlue Heelers, narrator and moral compass.Its a damn shame it can't be aired on 9 locally.The shows direction has been criticised by friends and while I agree itcould have been more cutting edge... that could have made itInternationally brilliant, as good as The Soprano's. The direction iscompetent and pretty good Oz TV work, moving the story ahead, superbcasting as mentioned and lively use of cool Aussie music, etc.I must say the show is actually meaningful. Has real content. It isprofound in its portrayal of Williams as a young upstart good guy, whois slowly corrupted by ambition, his wife, drugs, legitimate threats onhis own life and other issues. Even when he becomes a killer he stillis a nice guy to friends and family, generous and caring with money,etc., this all makes the Williams character sympathetic. After he isshot in the park by Jason Moran, Williams appears to go a bit 'postal'.He soon escalates the cycle of violence for which the real Williams isnow serving his 35 years. But you can't help feel bad for theUnderbelly Williams. If he wanted to succeed and stay alive in hischosen profession, could he have acted otherwise? The journey ofWilliams in Underbelly is one of the more profound Australian tales inmany a moon. It resonates, it mostly true from the base facts of thecase. Highly recommended Oz TV. Hunt it down overseas readers.Review by MUFF director Richard Wolstencroft
16 March 2013
This is no easy subject to film and is still restricted in itsdistribution in Australia due to possible legal issues. I found itexcellent. The cast is necessarily large and the acting exceptional.The gangsters really look evil and the blend of drugs, excessive sexand violence gives a chilling insight into this nether world ofgangland culture. It is shot on location in Melbourne. The case is wellknown locally and despite it being a dramatization it runs more like areal life fly-on-the-wall documentary. For me it out Sopranoed theSopranos and is one of the best gangster films Australia has everproduced. See it if you can. I watched all 13 episodes straightthrough!!
09 March 2013
This show is incredible! It is amazingly entertaining.. The best moderncrime show ever. Its all true. compare Underbelly to Sopranos? lol comeon. Underbelly makes the Sopranos look like p*ssy non-amusing bs. Oneof my favorite shows because its just flat out entertaining. DirectTVhas a little hidden gem. Wonderful writing, crazy characters and wildTrue stories. It is not for everyone. It's the most gritty show I'veever seen. Where did this show come from? I need it on DVD. It's aswell made as an HBO or Showtime show. Mark "Chopper" Read makes anappearance. The Kane brothers are deep in the plot. Australia has somegreat crime stories. This show is far better than The Sopranos. I onlycompare the two because someone else did. The acting is swell, thedirecting is fine, the art direction and cinematography areexceptional. If one has the chance to watch this show. Give it a whirlif your not faint hearted. Wildly entertaining. I really can't sayenough or too much about Underbelly, you got to check it out. If youlike crime shows, this is for you.
09 March 2013
I really can't say enough good things about this show. Each season weare introduced to a whole new cast of characters and series of eventsspanning over roughly a decade for each series. The show does abeautiful job of spanning over several years without feeling likeanything is rushed or left out. Each episode feels like a mini saga ofit's own, with new challenges and conflicts facing the characters thatit focuses on. We watch characters grow from amateurs to professionalsin a matter of episodes and it all feels very real. Also, as we see atthe beginning of each episode, it is all based on real events. A quicksearch on the Internet will reveal that almost all characters andevents are very close to their real counterparts. I could go on aboutthe attention to detail in the story lines and the the top notch actingall around but you should just watch and see for yourself.Note: I'm writing this review having just finished watching season 3 ofUnderbelly, which is unfortunately the last season available to me onNetflix here in the U.S.
07 March 2013
IMDb should actually have separate entries for each series, rather thanfiling in it as one show with three seasons. Each "season" is aseparate crime story, set in a different era with different characters.My review of 8/10 is simply for season 1. The first season was afascinating story and the series was fairly well put together, thoughit did become a fraction "soapie" at some points. Nonetheless, the toneset by the acting was well conceived and the accuracy was pretty muchthere, even though a few events and aspects were simplified. Engaging plot, engaging characters, a few well-placed humorous touches,great acting. Enormous success.Following this, we had the second year which was titled Underbelly: Thetale of two cities. This show was set in the 1970s and 1980s and was,in a nutshell, unengaging. The story was a bit thin, it was hard tofind characters to sympathise with and several mid-season episodesseemed to play no role in advancing the stories, while others coveredareas and stories that were covered in previous productions such asBlue Murder. I lost interest and its dwindling ratings throughout theseason were well deserved. The first episodes of the third "season" (The Golden Mile) has justbeen aired (at the time of writing this) and it similarly appears thatthe characters will be largely uninspired and a suspicion that materialwill run thin and ratings with dwindle.Why didn't they just leave it at the first "season" and launch othercrime stories under a separate title? Answer: unoriginal channel 9executives in Sydney!
07 March 2013
This is apparently based on true life and if it is...I find it veryhard to believe that these gangsters had any kind of hold over anyone.I am reviewing this on the performance of the pilot, which in myopinion is terrible.Gangsters engage in random violence, try to extort money, and againengage in violence....As well as have sex with women, which doesn'teven try to fit into the story.The actor who plays Alphone Gangitano is ridiculously over-hyped, andso are all the other actors. The storyline does not seem to exist, thedialog is awful, and more importantly it's very sad watching these'Gangsters' try to act like the 'Sopranos' by having random meetings inrandom places.