Three Blind Mice (2008 film)

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Three Blind Mice
Three Blind Mice.jpg
Three Blind Mice Film Poster
Directed by Matthew Newton
Produced byBen Davis
Caitlin Stanton
Written by Matthew Newton
Starring Matthew Newton
Ewen Leslie
Toby Schmitz
Music by John Foreman
CinematographyHugh Miller
Distributed by Titan View
Release date
  • 8 June 2008 (2008-06-08)(Sydney)
  • 20 August 2009 (2009-08-20)(Australia)
Running time
94 minutes
Box officeA$9,590 (Australia) [1]

Three Blind Mice is a 2008 feature film written, directed by and starring Matthew Newton, alongside Ewen Leslie and Toby Schmitz. It premiered at Sydney Film Festival in 2008. [2] To date it has screened at over fourteen international and Australian festivals. [3] [3]

Matthew Joseph Newton is an Australian born actor, writer, and director and son of TV personality Bert Newton. His acting career was interrupted by treatment in a psychiatric unit for bipolar disorder after several serious incidents of domestic violence and assault which were widely reported in the Australian media. Newton has relocated to New York City where he is now based and has resumed his directing and acting career.

Ewen Leslie is an Australian stage, film and television actor.

Toby Schmitz Australian actor

Toby Schmitz is an Australian actor and playwright.



Three young Australian naval officers hit the streets of Sydney for one last night before being shipped out to Iraq. The dynamic between the three friends is uneasy; Sam (Ewen Leslie) has been mistreated at sea and is going AWOL, Dean (Toby Schmitz) has a fiancé and the future in-laws to meet, and Harry (Matthew Newton) just loves playing cards. Throughout the night, the boy's struggle with what a night in Sydney can offer, as details of their last six months at sea emerge. [4]


The film features many distinguished and critically acclaimed Australian actors. [5] The full cast list is as below: (This is also Charles "Bud" Tingwell's final film before his death).

Toby Schmitz LEUT Dean Leiberman
Matthew Newton SBLT Harry McCabe
Ewen Leslie SBLT Sam Fisher
Gracie Otto Emma
Marcus Graham John
Clayton Watson Vito
Alex Dimitriades Tony
Pia Miranda Sally
Barry Otto Fred
Heather Mitchell Kathy
Jacki Weaver Bernie Fisher
Charles Tingwell Bob Fisher
Brendan Cowell LCDR Glenn Carter


Three Blind Mice has been noted as the first portrayal of Australian soldiers serving during the War in Iraq. [6] While Newton has stated the film is not a political statement, it does portray his belief that young men should be making mistakes, rather than going to war. [7] The film also references iconic Australian military legends, such as Gallipoli [6] Primarily, the film explores what it is to be a man, and what that means to live and act in a male-dominated world today. [8] [9]

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Gallipoli peninsula

The Gallipoli peninsula is located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles strait to the east.


Three Blind Mice was filmed in a 'Guerilla' style; on location without proper permits and in locations in Sydney that are not often seen on screen. [10] The film relied solely on independent funding, while Screen Australia contributed funds for the film to be transferred to 35mm print. [7] Cast and crew from the film was largely made up of friends of Newton's. Gracie Otto who was a lead support in the film also edited. [11] It has been noted in several reviews that the film was inspired by John Cassavetes, and thus many scenes were improvised around the screenplay. [8] Newton has stated that he intended to make a multi-narrative film, so that every character could treat the film as though they were the lead, [7] rather than rely on a sole protagonist.

Screen Australia is the Australian Federal Government's key funding body for the Australian screen production industry. Its functions are to support and promote the development of a highly creative, innovative and commercially sustainable industry.

Gracie Otto Australian actress, film producer, writer, and film director

Gracie Otto is a film director who made her feature-length directing debut with the 2013 documentary The Last Impresario about prolific British theatre impresario and film producer Michael White. The film made its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.

John Cassavetes American actor, film director, and screenwriter (1929-1989)

John Nicholas Cassavetes was an American actor, film director, and screenwriter of Greek descent. Cassavetes was a pioneer of American independent film, writing and directing over a dozen movies, which he partially self-financed, and pioneered the use of improvisation and a cinéma vérité style. He also acted in many Hollywood films, notably Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Dirty Dozen (1967). He studied acting with Don Richardson, utilizing an alternative technique to method acting which privileged character over traditional narrative. His income from acting made it possible for him to direct his own films independently.


Three Blind Mice was critically well received, earning three and a half stars from both Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton on ABC's At the Movies. Primarily, both reviewers noted the strong performances by the distinguished cast. [12] While the performances by the cast were particularly acclaimed for their freshness, [9] Matthew Newton's screenplay was also commended and noted for its maturity, comedy and realism. [5] His directorial ability was also commended. [6] [8] [13] In the opening scene Mathew Newton is wearing the epaulettes of a Leut Commander (two and a half rings). In later scenes he is wearing the single ring of a Sub Lieutenant on his jacket. All Officers in the film are wearing their medal ribbons on the right breast, when they should be worn on the left breast.

Margaret Pomeranz Australian film critic

Margaret Pomeranz AM is an Australian film critic, writer, producer and television personality.

David Stratton Australian film critic

David James Stratton AM is an English-Australian award-winning film critic, as both a journalist and interviewer, film historian and lecturer and television personality and producer.


Three Blind Mice did not secure a theatrical distributor for several months throughout 2008 and 2009. Finally in April 2009, Titan View picked up distribution rights for Australia and New Zealand. [14]

Three Blind Mice struggled to secure a theatrical release in Sydney, the city it was produced in. [15] Finally, the Chauvel Cinema agreed to show the film for five consecutive Friday nights. [10] Titan View CEO John L. Simpson noted that this limited release was due to the city's arthouse cinemas rejecting the film as not commercial enough. [15]

Meanwhile, Three Blind Mice secured a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles, promoted by exposure at such festivals as SXSW. [16]

Awards and Festivals

Three Blind Mice has featured and been in competition at the following festivals [3]

Despite critical acclaim at several international and local festivals, Three Blind Mice was not nominated for an AFI within Australia [17]

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  1. "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office", Film Victoria Archived 9 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine accessed 13 November 2012
  2. "Of mice and men (Three Blind Mice) | A Life In Film". 18 June 2008. Archived from the original on 12 September 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. 1 2 3 "Three Blind Mice - Matthew Newton at Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, Sydney, NSW on 4 Sep 09, 8:30 AM". 4 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  4. "Three Blind Mice (2008)". Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Urban Cinefile THREE BLIND MICE". 4 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 "Three blind mice | Film & TV". 16 June 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Stuart O'Connor (17 October 2008). "Matthew Newton talks about making Three Blind Mice | Film |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 "Three Blind Mice film review : In Film Australia - all about Australian films". 1 July 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  9. 1 2 "Three Blind Mice | Review, Cast | SBS Film". 15 August 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  10. 1 2 "Three Blind Mice - Film Reviews - Film - Entertainment". 3 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  11. "Three Blind Mice". 8 August 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  12. "At the Movies: Three Blind Mice". Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  13. "Three Blind Mice, Matthew Newton, Film Review: Cinephilia - Australian Film & more". Cinephilia. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  14. "Titan View nabs Three Blind Mice". Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  15. 1 2 "Stale Popcorn: Shame". 5 August 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  16. "Mice to hit US cinemas, TV & festival". 21 January 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  17. "Stale Popcorn: Three Blind Mice Wins Awards in Britain, AFI Members Continue to Embarrass [sic] Themselves, World Turns for Another Day, etc". 1 November 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2012.