Cultural Perspective: Analysis of Australian Values in the Film "The Castle"

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Analysis of 'The Castle' Through the Cultural Perspective
  3. Conclusion


“Tell him he’s dreamin”. Cultural identity is a distinct concept, which incorporates the ideas, assumptions, values and perspective that are unique to Australian individuals. Rob Sitch’s film ‘The Castle’ depicts various distinctive Australian values such as being an ‘Aussie battler’ and having a fair go. In the film, these values are upheld by main character Darryl Kerrigan who portrays as an underdog who strives to protect his family and his castle from the superior government authority. Throughout the film, the director illustrates the valuable spirit of Australia through the interaction between characters and the process of achieving individuals rights in his country. The film highlights how cultural perspectives are revealed and challenged through the power of language and how language and visual techniques have the ability to shape our cultural perspective. The examples of these interactions are analyzed in this essay.

Analysis of 'The Castle' Through the Cultural Perspective

Throughout the film, Darryl Kerrigan portrays as an underdog and ordinary working class but at the same time, he depicts as an Aussie battler who persistently voices the social justice and fair go against the government in their attempt to acquire his house. In the film, Darryl goes to the court alone attempting to defend himself, his neighbours and his family even though he has no knowledge of the law. In the local court, when the magistrate asks “what law have you based that on?”, Darryl audaciously remarks “the law of bloody common sense”. The emphatic language and humour create the feeling of ignorance however, Darryl does not succumb instead decides to challenge by taking the case to the higher court. This action clearly reveals the cultural assumption of the Australian battler and never give up mentality as Darryl does not yield to the superior force of the government.

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Cultural perspectives are further illustrated throughout the film as the portrayal of Darryl is innocent and ignorant towards many things. Darryl develops a relationship with Laurie, who is the Queen’s Council Attorney as he offers him help with his case by saying “I think we could test better, I would like to appeal your case, gratis”. Laurie and Mr Kerrigan sit around Darryl’s dinner table challenging the cultural perspective of the social hierarchy. A medium shot portrays how they are equal and Laurie is not in it for the money, instead to help Darryl out of compassion. This, therefore, challenges perspectives of different classes within societies as it doesn't matter how intelligent you are or how much money you have, everyone has the ability to commit a selfless act to help someone less fortunate than yourself.

Various characters are judged based on stereotypical assumptions, this can be seen through the depiction of Wayne as a caring human being with whom the audience can relate to rather than the stereotypical assumption that he is a terrible criminal with no morals. This can be seen in the film in the quote “He didn’t mean to rob the petrol station”. The tone of Dale in the voiceover used by the director shows naiveté but also the willingness to give people a second chance. People that are of less intelligent are able to live their lives unaware of many things that people actively worry about. It allows a person to live freely and give people a second chance to prove themselves, as Dale has in the film with his brother. This further demonstrates the theme that stereotypical assumptions about a person are just that, assumptions that don’t give a clear representation of personal behaviour.

The value of the rights of individuals to participate in their community is displayed throughout the film. This value is demonstrated through Darryl protecting his rights against the Barlow Group. Darryl becomes a champion and leader of his local community, not just his family by going to face the people who are opposing them in court. Juxtaposition of costuming in this scene allows the audience to see Darryl’s casualness and the class associations of his flannelette shirt suggests sincerity and warmth, positioning the responder to sympathise with this character against the uncaring bureaucratic system that the councilwomen represents. The lack of compassion is conveyed in a mid-shot of the councilwomen accompanied by the quote “all right Mr Kerrigan, I’ll state this simply”, which is said in a patronising manner with an impassive expression, as well as her formal costuming, implies distance and creates a class barrier between her and Darryl. The director of the text is able to incorporate themes such as ‘the Aussie battler, as well as the stereotypical assumptions made about those of lower class.


In 'The Castle’, Rob Sitch effectively incorporates various visual and language techniques to capture a true example of an Australian family who has difficulty presenting themselves as low socioeconomic status and intelligence. Themes of being an ‘Aussie battler’ has been displayed various times in the film through the main character Darryl Kerrigan who is the leader of the house and the person responsible for protecting his family. In the film perspectives of different cultures are also explored as Laurie who is clearly apart of the upper class of society sees the need to help someone less intelligent and in need of assistance and simply does it out of compassion and kindness to Darryl who has trouble understand the legal jargon. I believe this film is a testament to what it means to be Australian as it represents the struggles that millions of families go through every day of their lives.  

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