movies proclaim that they are “noirs” when they aren’t even close. Noirs
all have a few things in common and just to say your film is a noir when
some of the basics are missing doesn’t do the trick. This Australian
noir is the real thing. When Colin (David Lyons) comes across a fatal
automobile accident in the desert he becomes involved with the driver,
Jina (Emma Booth), and her husband, Frank (Jason Clarke), and some drug
money from the dead driver of the other car.
and directed by Craig Lahiff, this is a brilliant noir that would have
felt right at home in ‘40s Hollywood. As with most noirs, this is
greatly aided by atmospheric cinematography of the sun-burned Flinders
Ranges in South Australia by David Foreman and subtle music by Paul
Grabowsky that keep the mystery tense.
follows all of the rules of noir, adding a trouble-shooter Charlie
(Travis McMahan) who is working in the background killing people trying
to find the money.
usual in a noir, good guy protagonist, Colin, is sucked into something
he never saw coming by a gorgeous woman and, although suspicious, he
just doesn’t know whether to trust her or not. Booth is gorgeous and a
gives a terrific performance as the inscrutable femme fatale. Jason
Clarke gives his usual top flight performance, equaling what he did in
Lawless (2012) and The Great Gatsby (2013). This guy is as
good as it gets.
does have a couple of scenes that make one realize this is a movie and
not real life. In one, Charlie haplessly drives into the side of a bus
in a poorly staged accident that should have been much better staged in
this day and age. In another, Frank jumps onto the top of a speeding
train that is clearly moving too fast for him to do what he does without
those are minor annoyances. This is a surprise sleeper.
December 3, 2013