Director: Simon J. Dutton
Starring: Greg Fleet, Justina Noble, Simon J. Dutton, Peter Finlay, Rebecca Mendoza, Lawrence Mooney, Steve Prictor, Scott the Singing Scott, Joecelyn Tauta Towers, Big Mick
A passion-project from first time Writer/Director/Actor Simon J. Dutton the film follows the search for a killer by a professional killer (Simon J. Dutton) requested by the mother of the surviving child (Justina Nole) and the St Kilda lowlifes he encounters on the way.
It is difficult to describe too much of the plot without giving away the story, but it is not really a type of movie that is made that much in Australia. The tone of the film felt like a serious Nordic crime drama, but with more explicit descriptions of the crime that is at the heart of the story and it certainly is nothing like whatever Underbelly is presenting itself as these days.
Having lived close to the area it was filmed in for over ten years, I did get a lot more out of it than most reviewers seem to. Seeing places you go past every day on screen and more importantly people that you know in a starring role brings a whole lot more to the proceedings.
For a lot of the cast it is their first role in anything, you do not see that often and hopefully some will get to do more things in the future.
Greg Fleet as Junkie Bob easily steals all the scenes he is in and gets all the best lines. Kudos to the makeup person who set up the feet injecting scene at the start as it is pretty graphic, as is the scene where the character Hope (Joecelyn Tauta Towers) is painfully walking around in a dingy back alley after being assaulted by her previous client.
It is a shame that the Greyhound is no longer in a form that would have suited the film, but the Royal Hotel (without the topless barmaids strangely) makes a good base for the minor mob boss played by Scott the Singing Scott.
Steve Prictor does get a minor, but prominent role as a stand over victim tied to a chair and also tells a great story at the end.
I was impressed by the stylistic choices of the director and cinematography. There are a lot of pauses and a sparseness that you don’t get in a lot of films where you never get a chance to rest. You certainly need it here as some of the descriptions of violent acts are hard to sit through, but violence is not meant to be something you enjoy and it is painful for everyone involved, even the people perpetrating it.
The music by Deaf Center was suitably broody and the incidental songs by the Mary Hillbillies and Burn in Hell were most welcome.
While I can’t say watching this film was a happy experience, it was affecting and I would recommend it if you have the stomach for extreme subject matter. The violence is not that explicit however and it cuts away in one particular scene that would have been much more gruesome otherwise.