Timothy White

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Son Of A Gun Review


Very Good

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.

Continue reading: Son Of A Gun Review

Two Hands Review


Excellent
Writer/director Gregor Jordan's Two Hands is a brilliant little film; what we Aussies might call a "ripper." Preceding the more sophisticated Aussie thriller Chopper by just a year, it announced the beginning of the Australian film industry's obsession with crime. Not quite as stylish as Dirty Deeds or as hilarious as Gettin' Square, Two Hands deals well in both these traits, adding to the mix grit, suspense, and true romance.

Jimmy (Heath Ledger) works as a doorman at a strip club in the infamous Kings Cross area of Sydney. "The Cross" is the kind of place where trouble of the criminal kind is perfectly unavoidable, and Jimmy has trouble avoiding it. When asked by crime kingpin Pando (Bryan Brown) to deliver $10,000 to a unit in Bondi, Jimmy sees himself moving up in the world. When he loses the money on a disappointingly unromantic errand and it is stolen by a pair of Dickensian street kids, Jimmy knows he is a dead man. His only chance is to hook up with his dead brother's ex-gang and rob a bank to make the money back. As Pando's goons, including Acko (David Field) and Wally (Tom Long), hunt Jimmy down, the film races tensely to a climax that will decide his fate.

Continue reading: Two Hands Review

Cosi Review


Good
Cute but predictable, Cosi revolves around the cute-but-predictable premise of a group of insane asylum inmates who put on a rendition of the opera Cosi fan Tutte despite having no acting or singing ability whatsoever (not to mention a lack of sanity). Highlights include the always-on Collette, Barry Otto (channelling Geoffrey Rush), and Ben Mendelsohn (channelling Noah Taylor). Odd, yet cute and, you know, predictable.
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Son of a Gun Movie Review

Son of a Gun Movie Review

This may not be the brightest thriller in the cinema, but it's made with such...

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