Felony - 3 Stars
The new Australian police thriller is intense, but the ending is unfulfilling.
As policeman Mal Toohey chases an escaping suspect during a raid he gets a bullet lodged in his protective vest and hero status for his trouble. After he celebrates, he drives home intoxicated and accidentally clips a boy on a bike with his rear-view mirror. He phones for an ambulance, but denies any involvement in the accident. When by-the-book cop Jim and his superior, Carl arrive on the scene, Carl recognizes Mal and sends Jim off to secure the perimeter. He privately questions Mal and sends him home, making Jim suspicious. While the boy remains in a coma, Mal’s guilt increases his need to confess. Jim's desire to solve the case is further fueled by his attraction to the boy’s mother. He voices his doubts to Carl, which causes Carl to grow increasingly desperate to keep secret meetings with both men.
The film starts off strong and instantly draws you in, and makes you invested in the characters. After the first hour the writing starts to dwindle and the plot weakens, and becomes less believable. The film’s ending (which I won't spoil) was also unfulfilling, as while it cleared up the major aspects of the film it left a lot unanswered.
Writer and producer Joel Edgerton played Mal. Due to the writing he left his character absolutely nowhere to go emotionally after the first 30 minutes, resulting in a boring character. Tom Wilkinson played Carl and gave an outstanding performance, even though his character’s writing wasn’t always the best. The stand out cast member was Jai Courtney as Jim. His performance was consistently strong throughout the whole film and he had a clear character progression.
Overall a good film that is ultimately let down by the varying quality of the writing. It has some strong performances and I do encourage you to see this latest Australian offering!
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Movie screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas