The main character Epi in ‘Finding Harry: A Tale from the Northern Suburbs’ sometimes lives in a weird state of his own mind. That’s okay, we all do and like Epi we reconnect with something called ‘reality’ now and then. But this is where it gets interesting.
We can only perceive reality through our own senses and state of mind so we do not know what it is really like, really-really. Philosophers since they first started to think seriously, were aware of this subtle problem. I won’t bore you with their analyses but it does mean that poor Epi, when he’s not thinking about himself, his ex-wife and his case, is seeing reality (the world) through his own senses and they are influenced by his state of mind. Just like us.
A big influence on Epi is television and movies, as you would know if you have read the book. And one of the biggest influences is the actor Robert Mitchum. That is to say, the part Mitchum played in the neoclassic private eye movie, ‘Farewell My Lovely’ (1975). I know this because I am Epi’s biographer, so trust me.
In this movie, based on the great Raymond Chandler book of the same name (1940), we have the classic private detective, Phillip Marlowe, flawed hero but with an edge. An outsider who travels through the dark side of the city and deals with the sordid aspects of our culture. Hard boiled classic. The perfect PI. Why Epi likes him (as he explained it to me) is because he is so cool whatever he is doing. Making love, walking about, punching and getting punched, talking, you name it. Cool style. So Epi tries to copy him even though he is in Coburg, a suburb of Melbourne in 1989, rather than the seedy Los Angeles of 1940.
Well, we all have our role models and Mitchum is cool as. If you have not seen this film then do so. You will see Epi as he dreams himself to be.
Incidentally, the film also features in a tiny part, a young Sylvester Stallone as a petty thug. Don’t blink or you’ll miss him. Now there was an up and coming cool dude as well.