Big Steal

In his first leading role Ben Mendelsohn plays Danny Clark, a bumbling eighteen-year-old guy. He knows what it takes to be cool and have some style, it is just that he seems to struggle to get there. Danny has enthusiasm and passion and only wants two things more than anything in the world. A Jaguar XJ6 and a date with the gorgeous Joanna Johnson (an early role for then 17-year-old Claudia Karvan). Get these and his life will be complete.

Unfortunately for Danny, when he finally gets the courage up to ask Joanna out, he somehow manages to promise her a ride in his new Jaguar. She is not particularly impressed by cars, but still agrees to his invitation. The problem is, Danny does not own a Jaguar. His form of transport is his recently received birthday present – and it most certainly is not a Jaguar. His eccentric parents have decided to pass on their pride and joy to Danny for his use. Their 1963 Nissan Cedric has been in the family for years and is immaculate but extremely uncool. Danny is aghast at the thought of driving around in a car as dorky as a Cedric and, with the promise of a date with Joanna and the need for a Jaguar in a hurry, decides to trade in the old Nissan. He heads out to search the car yards to find his dream machine.

In a role of pure sleaze, Steve Bisley plays Gordon Farkas, the villainous used car salesman. Spotting Danny admiring a used 1973 XJ6 in the lot, Farkas pounces and uses all his charm, cunning and every used-car salesman trick in the book to convince Danny that this is the car for him. With the deal done and the Cedric gone, Danny heads home with his new pride and joy. But this is where things start to unravel. His father is not impressed about losing the Cedric, and while out on his long-awaited date with Joanna, the Jag’s engine blows up. Danny is shattered, particularly when he upsets Joanna and she leaves him stranded alone in the empty streets with a broken-down car. Closer inspection reveals the engines had been swapped after Danny had signed the contract, with a dud motor put in his car. Realising he has been done-over by the crooked Farkas, Danny and his mates hatch a plan to get revenge over the shonky car salesman and hopefully win back the hand of the lovely Joanna.