Son of a Gun

"Very Good"

Son of a Gun Review


This may not be the brightest thriller in the cinema, but it's made with such a ripping sense of energy that it's thoroughly entertaining. With his first feature, Australian filmmaker Julius Avery packs the screen with intense characters, raucous set-pieces and suggestions of all kinds of metaphorical meaning. He also assembles a terrific cast of actors willing to chomp merrily on the scenery. So even if the movie never actually cracks the surface, it's a true guilty pleasure.

Set in Western Australia, the film centres on 19-year-old JR (Brenton Thwaites), who begins a six-month stint in prison with a determination to rise to the top. His bravado nearly gets him killed, but he boldly aligns himself with notorious criminal Brendan (Ewan McGregor), and in exchange for protection inside JR agrees to help Brendan from the outside. Sure enough, in six months Brendan launches an audacious prison break, after which he and Brendan get to work with dodgy mobster Sam (Jacek Koman) on an even more elaborate gold heist. JR is loving the gangster lifestyle but still refuses to follow the rules, which puts him on a collision course with Sam as he openly flirts with Sam's prized moll Tasha (Alicia Vikander). Now JR thinks he can steal Tasha, ditch Brendan and get away with the gold. As if.

Yes, the film is a web of double-crosses and betrayals, none of which is much of a surprise. All of the final act's twists and turns are loudly announced early on, as are the strained metaphors of chess-playing criminals and father-son mentoring. Avery's script and direction constantly suggest that nothing is what it seems, although it's hard not to see what's really going on. But what's on-screen is so much fun that we don't mind at all. Thwaites, McGregor, Vikander and Koman all have a great time playing with our expectations. Each character is cocky and sure that they're in control, when it's clear that they're not. And the sparks between them make each scene sizzle.

Best of all is the chemistry between JR and Brendan, a mixture of respect and rivalry that plays with the idea of being either a lover or a fighter (or a bonobo or a chimp, to use their repeated ape metaphor). This more than makes up for the lack of any real suspense in the story, as does the sure-handed approach Avery takes to each of the energetic action set-pieces, which shift the genre from prison thriller to heist caper to gangster drama as it goes along. So not only is the movie a thrillingly enjoyable ride, but it marks Avery as a filmmaker to watch.

Son of a Gun Trailer

 



Son of a Gun

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 11th December 2014

Distributed by: A24

Production compaines: Media House Capital, Altitude Film Entertainment, Bridle Path Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Julius Avery

Producer:

Starring: as Brendan, as JR, Matthew Nable as Sterlo, as Private Wilson, as Chris, as Sam, Jesse McGinn as Swimsuit Girl

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.