Balanced on a knife-edge between social realism and existential horror, this disturbing, subversive portrayal of Australia's cultural underbelly failed to find a wide audience on its original release, but has since become established as a seminal cornerstone of the Australian cinema. A middle-class school teacher, stuck in a government-enforced teaching post in an arid backwater, stops off in the mining town of Bundanyabba on his way home for the Christmas holidays. Discovering a local gambling craze that may grant him the financial independence to move back to Sydney for good, the opportunity proves irresistible. But the bad decisions are just beginning and a reliance on local standards of hospitality in "the Yabba" may take him on a path darker than ever expected. One of the many triumphs in director Ted Kotcheff's career, 'Wake in Fright' effortlessly sustains the quality of a sun-baked nightmare, with a relentless forward drive and outstanding performances by Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Sylvia Kay, and Chips Rafferty in his final role. A brutal, gripping dissection of the limits of masculinity and amorality to stand alongside 'Straw Dogs', 'A Clockwork Orange', and 'Deliverance', it remains a stunning entry in the envelope-pushing cinema of the early 1970s.