Eustice Solves a Problem (2004)

Director: Stephan Lance

Tagline: “ZERO!”

It’s the 1950’s and quiz shows are the king of Australian television. The star of one of these shows is Eustice, the boy-genius mathematician who can solve any problem. That is, until he gets a crush on a girl…

What really stood out about this movie was the great setting. The world of television in the 1950s was really exciting. Most of the shows were produced live and many of the hosts came over from radio or vaudeville so they were full of personality.

The characters in this movie were really great. Eustice is the smart kid with slicked down hair and glasses you would expect. His mother is forceful, driven and sexy, all while maintaining her nice suburban mum image. The host of the TV show is jovial on camera, but mean off screen. The other characters all fill their roles very well.

The costumes and settings are great and really suit the era. I am going to recommend this movie to a friend who likes dressing in 50s rockabilly clothes, just so she can see the dress Eustice’s mother is wearing in the film.

I thought the cinematography was great as it was shot to resemble a TV show produced in the era (black and white, high contrast.) This really suits the movie and it would be nice to see more movies follow the trend if it suited them also. While it may be easy to shoot on digital video, the finished result tends to come out a bit too polished and boring I think.

While the story reminded me of the movie ‘Quiz Show’ and the TV special ‘Top Kid’, there was enough originality in the story to make it very worthwhile to see.

Rating: 10/10

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