Aaron Pedersen recognisable as ‘Cam’ from Jack Irish makes a great screen presence without being an over showy or histrionic actor. Initially the stilted and full or pregnant pauses the film is clearly going to turn you off instantly or lead you into watching it.
At first I felt I wasn’t going to like the film but after a few more minutes of watching I began to tune into the way the dialogue was delivered and tuned out of the more ‘mainstream’ style of delivery. After all, if you think about it this is how life is when you talk to people. There are pauses, there is no snappy and witty comebacks and there is often an answer to your question and you say thanks and move on.
All the performances in the film as definitely naturalistic and all the actors use the ‘dead air’ heavy stilted way of delivery their lines. So, if you don’t like that don’t watch the movie.
The plot and general feel of the story more than nods its head to ‘No Country for Old Men’ and a few other nourish backwaters crime movies. Wherein the dull façade of a sleep and half-dead town hides a vicious and deadly crime underbelly.
There are times when the story seems to lose its way as the plot trips over itself. Even after the film ended I still was not sure of Hugo Weaving’s character’s motivation and whose side he was on. Also, a mass shoot-out, at last with some seemingly realistic terrible shooting accuracy, seemed to jar with the feel of the story and almost appeared to plonked in to keep adrenaline junkies happen after seventy minutes of non-violent action that had gone before.
The cinematography is excellent and the overall feel of the story and underlying feeling of despair and loss are spot-on I cannot say the I had an immediate sympathy for any of the characters but I believe this is not what the film-maker set out to achieve. Jay is a flawed protagonist who is much sinned against but also drags along his own luggage with weary sigh – perhaps a bit more delving and evolving of this side of his character would have made him a tad more interesting but it is a minor niggle.
In summary, it is another film from Australia that appears to be a mostly realistic and honest portrayal of outback life, Australia films always seem to have a unique quality that either attracts you or repels you. This is a well-made gritty and simplistic film that caused me some confusion when it came to the plot but in the end, it didn’t bother me too much. I enjoyed it.