Jack Callil

Jack Callil is an editor and writer living in Naarm/Melbourne, living on the land of the Wurundjeri-willam people of the Kulin Nation. He was the digital editor of Australian Book Review. As a writer, his work has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, The Monthly, and VICE, among others.

Jack Callil reviews 'Fulfillment: Winning and losing in one-click America' by Alec MacGillis

January–February 2022, no. 439 26 November 2021
Jack Callil reviews 'Fulfillment: Winning and losing in one-click America' by Alec MacGillis
In 1995, a new online marketplace called Amazon sent out its first press release, with its thirty-one-year-old founder, Jeff Bezos, proclaiming: ‘We are able to offer more items for sale than any retailer in history, thanks entirely to the Internet.’ Nearly three decades later – Amazon having steroidally expanded from a book retailer to a multinational hydra of e-commerce, cloud storage, and ... (read more)

Lisa Kerrigan reviews 'Tasting Salt' by Stephanie Dowrick

December 1997–January 1998, no. 197 01 December 1997
Lisa Kerrigan reviews 'Tasting Salt' by Stephanie Dowrick
Just as the great oceans have but one taste.the taste of salt, so too there is but one taste fundamental to all true teachings of the Way and this is the taste of freedom. This quote from Buddha opens Tasting Salt, Dowrick’s second novel, and freedom is its main theme. But the freedom in question is of the quiet domestic kind rather than the revolutionary clenched-fist-and-anthem kind. Cord ... (read more)

Jack Callil reviews 'Uncanny Valley' by Anna Wiener

April 2020, no. 420 20 March 2020
Jack Callil reviews 'Uncanny Valley' by Anna Wiener
If our technology-infused world were a great beast, the engorged heart of it would be Silicon Valley. A region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Valley is the birthplace of the modern start-up, a mecca for tech pilgrims and venture capitalists. A typical start-up has simple ambitions: become a big, rich company – and do it fast. Think Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, Tinder, Snapchat. L ... (read more)

Uncut Gems (Netflix)

ABR Arts 03 February 2020
Uncut Gems (Netflix)
There is something fundamentally irritating about Adam Sandler. Whether it’s his two-dimensional characters, mousey face, or nasally voice, he reminds you of that obnoxious guy whose loud voice dominates a party. He is the poster boy of puerile comedy, the SNL-alum visionary of some of the most blasphemously bad films of all time. The sheer offensiveness of his work is unignorable: the homophobi ... (read more)

Sorry We Missed You (Icon Films)

ABR Arts 18 December 2019
Sorry We Missed You (Icon Films)
For anyone who has seen I, Daniel Blake (2016), the baked-beans scene is likely to be burnt upon the brain. It is a harrowing moment, one that draws attention to the brutal lives of many people who depend on the British welfare system. The film, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, tapped into what for many was a daily existence. Now its director, the octogenarian auteur Ken Loach, has returned w ... (read more)

Dogman

ABR Arts 26 August 2019
Dogman
Matteo Garrone likes to peel back Italy’s skin to expose what writhes beneath. The director’s earlier breakout film Gomorrah (2008), an unforgettable sprawling epic, explores the Camorrah crime syndicate from its bottom-feeding wannabes to its corrupt political élite. Reality (2013), a satirical tale of a fishmonger going to desperate lengths to become a reality-television star, is a nod to S ... (read more)

Jack Callil reviews 'Spring' by Ali Smith

June–July 2019, no. 412 17 May 2019
Jack Callil reviews 'Spring' by Ali Smith
Uncertainty is the new norm. Nationalist rhetoric is rife. Donald Trump is running for the US presidency. It’s June 2016 and the Brexit referendum has dazed the international community, heralding the start of the United Kingdom’s glacial extraction from the European Union. Amid the turmoil, Scottish novelist Ali Smith releases Autumn, the first, she foreshadows, of a seasonal quartet intended ... (read more)

Jack Callil reviews 'Hare's Fur' by Trevor Shearston

March 2019, no. 409 25 February 2019
Jack Callil reviews 'Hare's Fur' by Trevor Shearston
Hare’s Fur is about what follows grief. Russell Bass, a seventy-two-year-old potter, lives alone in Katoomba. Adele and Michael, his wife and child, have both died. Time still passes. He wakes early, drinks coffee, visits friends, throws clay. One morning, seeking basalt for glazes at a nearby creek, Russell discovers three siblings living in a cave: two young children, Todd and Emma, and ... (read more)

At Eternity's Gate

ABR Arts 11 February 2019
At Eternity's Gate
A man sits on a chair in a field, hands clasped together. He runs into the open grass before collapsing onto the ground. Grasping a handful of earth, he holds it high above his head and lets it fall over his face. He sits up, draws a palm across his mouth, and looks at the sunset. He grins.  Vincent van Gogh is an artist difficult to see clearly. Endlessly reimagined, the post-Impressionist ... (read more)