Title – Son of a Gun (2014)
Director – Julius Avery (feature debut)
Cast – Brenton Thwaites, Ewan McGregor, Alicia Vikander, Matt Nable, Nash Edgerton, Damon Herriman
Plot – Freshly incarcerated teenager JR (Thwaites) finds himself a part of fellow inmate and famous robber Brendan’s (McGregor) crew after Brendan takes JR under his protection. When JR is released from prison however, he must repay the favour and slowly becomes more embroiled in the crew who are looking to make another big score.
“Things are not as you imagine”
Review by Eddie on 18/02/2015
An often hugely ambitious Australian thriller that clearly wants to feel and look like an American counterpart, Son of a Gun is a frequently well staged and constructed local film and an impressive overseas calling card for director Julius Avery, that sadly falters to remain middle of the road just like so many other Australian films from last year did also (see also The Rover, Felony, The Infinite Man, These Final Hours etc).
An interesting mixing of a prison life drama, a coming of age/love story and a white knuckle heist thriller, Gun does well at combining so many lofty narrative goals but also suffers because of it. Starting out well if a little by the book, Gun gets things going with a harsh and gritty prison setup featuring fresh faced JR played by the soon to be next big thing Brenton Thwaities and the bearded Scottish criminal Brendan played by the offering his experience Ewan McGregor. This prison set up is a solid launching pad for a film the quickly subverts expectations into something else, there’s a prison break out that has to be seen to be believed (and supposedly based on a real life event), love interests, gold heists, car chases and a long game of chess that keeps things interesting and moving along at a brisk pace but it also stops the film from ever being something we can completely invest ourselves in, which coincidently stops Gun from being highly recommendable.
As like so many other recent Australian films, there seems to be a lack of a real standout character in Gun that drives the story to another level, which is largely due to the films abundance of elements and plot driving’s. Where the Rover wanted us to remain distant and therefore minimally invested in its plight or Felony struggled to make us care, Gun also can’t really decide on how to make Thwaities vulnerable and manipulated JR a young man we want to see succeed or McGregor’s Brendan a figure we really get a feel for. The acting here is quite solid with particular mention of the bound for the A list Alicia Vikander (whose role in the brilliant looking Sci-Fi Ex-Machina looks like a massive career booster) who really shows some acting chops, yet the solid performances aren’t enough to lift the film and McGregor it could be argued may be a little on auto pilot here in a role he clearly had a bit of fun with.
There’s some great filmmaking on display here by Avery and a story that clearly wanted to be more than just another Australian crime film but it’s not enough to save Son of a Gun from a long quiet life in the shelves of movie stores. People continue to wonder about and often bemoan the lack of support for locally made films but once again as long as they’re films like Son of a Gun (which struggled badly at the local Box Office), there is little blame to be placed on a movie loving public that in this day and age want a little more other than just another good movie.
3 eventful helicopter rides out of 5