Spotswood (film)

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"The Efficiency Expert" redirects here. For the 1921 novel, see The Efficiency Expert (novel).
Spotswood movieposter.jpg
Directed by Mark Joffe
Written by Max Dann, Andrew Knight
Starring Anthony Hopkins,
Ben Mendelsohn,
Alwyn Kurts,
Bruno Lawrence
Music by Ricky Fataar
Edited by Offshoot Films
Release dates
Australia 23 January 1992
Running time
95 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget A$3.4 million[1]
Box office A$1,505,884 (Australia)

Spotswood is an Australian comedy drama film directed by Mark Joffe, made in 1990-1991, released in 1992 in some locations; also known as The Efficiency Expert in America. It was the first feature film for Toni Collette and the fourth for Russell Crowe.

The film is a favourite of Rupert Murdoch's.[2]


In late 1960s Melbourne, Errol Wallace (Anthony Hopkins) is a financial business consultant who we meet in the course of his being hired by the board of Durmack, an automotive component manufacturer, where he assesses a large work force redundancy and recommends major layoffs.

Balls, a moccasin factory located in the Melbourne suburb of Spotswood, is his next client. Mr. Ball (Alwyn Kurts), the owner of the company, is affable and treats his employees benevolently. Wallace on a factory tour finds the conditions wanting with shabbiness, old machinery and the workers lackadaisical.

A young worker at Balls, Carey (Ben Mendelsohn), who is finding his place in the world and life, is asked by Wallace to assist in his review, compiling worker condition and performance information. Carey is reluctant until he learns that Mr. Ball’s daughter Cheryl (Rebecca Rigg), whom he fancies, is part of the review staff.

Wallace learns that there is an instigator in the midst, his colleague Jerry (John Walton), who leaks the Durmack report, inflating the quantity of sackings as a means to demoralize the union.

Kim (Russell Crowe), a salesman at Balls who also has his sights set on the boss's daughter, shows his ruthlessness and ulterior motives when he comes to Wallace's home one night with a complete set of the company financial records that detail non-existent profit for years and reveal that Ball has been selling off company assets to keep the outfit afloat.

Wallace realizes that whatever productivity improvements have been implemented are not enough to save the company even with an elimination of workers and yet that is his recommendation. Mr. Ball responds, "It’s not just about dollars and cents. It’s about dignity, treating people with respect.”

Wallace's mind set starts to change when his car is vandalized and some Ball workers come to his aid, workers who then start to include him in their off-hours activities. Mr. Ball announces the work force redundancies and Wallace is clearly uncomfortable seeing them, knowing that it was his recommendation that sealed their fate.

The union at Durmack capitulates and management celebrates with a party at which Wallace becomes disenchanted by rash sackings and realises that product diversity can potentially make the company profitable since the skills set is in the workers.

Carey realises he has feelings for his work mate and friend Wendy (Toni Collette) and together they climb up onto the roof of the factory and hold hands as they look out over Spotswood.


Box Office[edit]

Spotswood grossed $1,505,884 at the box office in Australia,[3] which is equivalent to $2,348,887 in 2009 dollars.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrew L. Urban, "Anthony Hopkins", Cinema Papers, May 1991 p8-10
  2. ^ Don Grove, "Murdoch and the moccasins movie", If Magazine, 1 November 2013 accessed 1 November 2013
  3. ^ Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links[edit]