Total Control Season 2 [9/10]

Deborah Mailman is one of the most powerful actors in Australia, maybe the world, and when she and Rachel Griffiths (herself a superb performer) and Miranda Dear came up with the idea of an indigenous woman suddenly at the heart of Australia’s poisonous prty political system at a time of razor-thin electoral margins, the idea was a winner but only if execution was sure-footed and dramatic. Well, “Total Control” is an out-and-out blast of top-class moviemaking. The storyline over its two seasons is amped up enough to be called thrilling, yet nothing is over-egged to point of silliness (as our recent election has demonstrated). Mailman is superb as Alex Irving, a fiery new Senator from remote Winton in New South Wales, an incendiary role played to the hilt. Griffiths is equally unforgettable as Rachel Anderson, former Prime Minister (in Season 1) now standing as an independent (as is Irving). Standout supporting actors from a terrific cast include William McInnes as oily leader of the Labor Party and Wesley Patten as Irving’s teenage son. Drones help cinematographer Garry Phillips present a sparkling array of Australia’s varying landscapes and cityscapes. The script is fast, tight, and full of moments of tension, pathos, and triumph. I cannot recommend Total Control enough, and it is hard to imagine any Australian production to best it in 2022 (Season 2 kicked off in November last year). A must-see!

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