WRITTEN BY: Julius AveryDIRECTED BY: Julius Avery
STARRING: Brenton Thwaites, Ewan McGregor, Alicia Vikander
RATING: 3.5 stars
Son of a Gun was filmed in Western Australia, but unlike many other Australian films, it does not push that point. The film could easily be set anywhere in the world and it is not filled with embarrassing Australian references. Clearly, first-time feature film writer/director Julius Avery has not set out to make an Australian film – he has just made a good psychological thriller involving criminals. Son of a Gun begins very strongly with prison scenes that are quite confronting in their depiction of brutal violence. As the story progresses outside the prison, the film starts to follow a very familiar plot line and is rather predictable. Nonetheless, this could easily have been another successful Mark Wahlberg film and it is great to see an Australian film reach that level of action with some impressive car chases and suspense.
Jailed for a minor crime, 19-year-old JR (Brenton Thwaites) soon learns the scary reality of prison bullies. JR falls under the protection of notorious criminal Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor), who strikes a deal with the teenager. Upon JR's release from prison, he helps Lynch and his two mates escape and then becomes embroiled in their next criminal activity – a gold heist.
Thwaites is fantastic in this gritty and challenging role. Despite playing opposite a Hollywood A-lister, Thwaites holds his own and carries the film well. It is no wonder McGregor made the trip to WA to make the film because his character is complex and interesting. Alicia Vikander is also good as the sultry love interest for JR.
Son of a Gun is an enjoyable action film, so support Australian cinema and go see it.