Weekend of Shadows was made in 1977, just before the Australian film boom of Breaker Morant, Galipoli etc. I would describe it as a little sleeper of a movie. It takes place over a couple of days in a quiet country town. Those few short days are enough to change the lives of the towns residents.
It starred John Waters in the lead role of Harry Baker, Graeme Blundell as the towns clown, Graham Rouse, Tony Barry, a very young Bryan Brown and the obligatory Bill Hunter as the town yocals.
John plays a gentle, simple man nicknamed Rabbit by the entire town. Rabbit doesn't fit in with other people, something his wife Vi, played by Melissa Jaffer, feels will affect and influence their young son.
When a local woman is murdered the men are rounded up by an older, overachieving sergeant with a career skeleton to make up for, to hunt down a Polish farmhand, who, as the only foreigner in town, is the prime suspect.
Rabbit is pursuaded by Vi to join the hunt, so he can appear to be like all the other men in town.
While the men are off on the hunt, Vi parades around town with her son making it known that Harry has joined the hunt to any local women she meets. In church she reminisces of her wild younger days, and her corruption of the simpleton Rabbit. When Vi falls pregnant the entire male population draws straws to establish the fatherhood and it is Rabbit who draws the straw that results in his marriage to Vi.
Flashbacks shown during the men's trek give us more of an insight into how the local men have treated Rabbit, and also the Polish farmhand, in the past. Anyone different to themselves appear to be worthy of ill treatment.
A fireside chat with a schoolteacher come journalist, while the search party sleeps, gives us the most insight into John's character, who up until then has been monosybalic. He reveals that he is totally aware of how different he is to all the other men.
The next day the search continues and the search party get steadily drunk and more violent tempered.
The ending is climactic and unexpected especially to myself whom I pride on being able to guess endings ! It leaves you thinking of how better to have ended the story, but also of the reasons why Rabbit had to do what he does.