2014 / Director. Julius Avery.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
SON OF A GUN is a film that's scattered with moments of brilliance, all of which are separated by a perpetual tedium. It looks amazing and by all appearances should hold itself up amongst an international market. It's an Australian crime film which follows two criminals as they break out of prison and stage a multi-million dollar heist for an affluent crime boss. Brenton Thwaites leads the film as a 19 year old petty criminal who accepts protection from a fearsome inmate, Ewan McGregor. The protection comes with a price and when the young guy is released after time served his debt is called upon. The story is broken into three distinctly obvious acts... the first of which is a hard-edged, brutal and affective prison drama. This part of the film is done skilfully and sets the narrative up with a lot of promise. Sadly the other two acts are let down by an over indulgence, insipid love story and gratuitous running time. Brenton Thwaites continues to prove himself a talented newcomer and reminds us that his newfound Hollywood stardom is well deserved, however he has his work cut out for him with Ewan McGregor delivering a half-arsed turn that teeters on lazy. He has played bad-ass characters before and a film like this should be something he would sink his teeth into. Instead he has a few arresting moments that are few and far between an otherwise lethargic phoned-in performance. A lot of energy has been wasted on this film and the characters are all irrelevant. We aren't given any back story to any of them and, in turn, no reason to give a shit. With the tweaking of the script SON OF A GUN could have been amazing because with all of the aforementioned criticisms aside director Julius Avery has delivered a gorgeous looking film. This is his first feature-length film and part of me feels uncomfortable being so critical. I guess it is too his credit that I feel this way because it is the strong technical aspects that inspire my criticism. To look at the film you would be forgiven for mistaking it for a Hollywood movie... and Australian cinema needs more contenders in that area. I have no doubt that the movie will divide audiences and if my disappointment is in the minority then I can accept that.