Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Three Dollars 2005

Directed by Robert Connolly

New Aussie hit from the director of The Bank follows an idealistic young couple from student romance in the 80s to social realities 20 years on.

119 minutes 35mm



Robert Connolly, Elliot Perlman. Based on the novel by Elliot Perlman


Tristan Milani


Nick Meyers


Alan John


David Wenham
Frances O'Connor
Sarah Wynter
Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik
Robert Menzies


A principled, humorous guy with a good head on his shoulders, Eddie (David Wenham) embodies the virtues and expectations inculcated into generations of middle-class Australian (and New Zealand) boys. He’s a chemical engineer working as a public servant, researching environmental impact reports on development proposals. He’s fiercely devoted to, and still slightly in awe of his arty, opinionated wife Tanya (Frances O’Connor). The problem for Eddie and Tanya is generational: graduating to the sorrowful strains of Joy Division, they stepped straight out of university into a world where the governing principles had become, officially and blatantly economic. This new movie by Robert Connolly shows us something of Eddie’s childhood, but mostly it’s the story of Eddie and Tanya, from on-again student couple, to one-child family wondering where they’ll find next weeks mortgage payment. 

Connolly is the producer of The Boys and director of The Bank, and this film is as trenchant in its enunciation of spiritual impoverishment as either of them. Based on the popular novel by Elliot Perlman, Three Dollars delivers a sustained protest at the erosion of traditional liberal values and a dramatic indictment of deregulated, developer-driven government. Eddie’s virtues include a stirling lack of self-pity. It’s the persistent spirit of his wit that keeps us on side through the dismaying trajectory of his career. Clinching its claim on our attention, Three Dollars also provides one of the most perceptive and rewarding portraits of a successful marriage to be seen in recent movies. — BG

"There is great drama in people trying to remain true to who they are in the face of the corporate world."— Robert Connolly, Australian Financial Review