Saturday, 25 April 2015


Gosh, it's been a wild few weeks hasn't it? Okay, good news: I've not killed myself due to stress ... yet. Bad news: I neglected Pop Culture Cynic. But in my defence, I couldn't handle the workload I was dealing with for university, let alone try and keep up with weekly posts on top of it. But that's all in the past now! Well, at least for summer, so let's get back to Pop Culture Cynic-y goodness, shall we?

Today I am reviewing a film called Felony, released in 2013.

felony film Australian three men on the cover
The casting call for this film was "slightly disgruntled
straight, white man."
So, in a sentence, Felony is an Australian film about three detectives (in the picture above). We have Detective Malcolm "Mad Mal" Toohey. Next we have Detective Carl Summer, which leaves his partner, Detective Jim Melic. When an incident leaves a nine year old boy in critical condition, the three detectives are swept up in web of secrets, lies and workplace politics.

"Yeah, the McDonalds is just down the road, take a left, can't miss it."
After celebrating a big bust and being hailed as a hero, Mal puts himself behind the wheel despite the previous scene showing him doing shot after pint after shot after shot. I feel like you guy's can guess where this is going. "An incident leaves a nine year old boy in critical condition" paired with "hero drunk cop drives home". Don't worry this isn't spoiler, you see it coming less than two minutes into the film. Mal hits the youg boy on his paper route with his car, and screeching to a stop, we see Mal wait and weigh up whether or not to just drive off and leave the boy, or to intervene and help.

Mal leaves the boy, the credits roll and the film lasted about twelve minutes, okay folks, i'll see you next week with a brand new review!

Nah, Mal gets out and helps the boy, phoning for an ambulance and shoddily avoiding questions about his involvement in the accident. 
Then up rolls Jim and Carl.

Something witty perhaps?
Carl, the more senior officer in command, is more than willing to just brush things under the carpet and move on, he is a strict follower of the code of "police officers have got each others backs." A quick, "did you run over the boy?" ".........Noooooo?" is enough for him. However this doesn't fly for Jim, the younger detective new on the scene. Despite the fact that he is meant to be focusing on a different case, the details of the hit and run just can't seem to settle in his mind and he decides to push things further, which exposes Carl's real lack of authoritative power.

*sad trumpet plays in background*
First things first, I actually did enjoy this film. It wasn't quite what I thought it would be and I really liked some of the style choices and directorial decisions, but I'll go into those in a minute. However, just because I liked it doesn't mean I don't think there was a fair bit wrong with it.
Firstly, the previously mentioned case that Jim is supposed to be focusing on however is much more interesting than this story. I'd much rather have a film about Jim and Carl pursuing the people involved in the abduction and rape of a young girl rather than this hit and run thing. Rule number one, don't make the side plot more interesting than the main plot. In fact the other case isn't even a side plot, it's briefly mentioned and explored in the beginning before it's totally thrown out the window in favour of the main plot. 

You're gonna wanna get used to this angle.
Secondly, no-one in this film is particularly likeable? Like, I wasn't really rooting one way or another. I never feared for Mal getting caught, or cheered in triumph at the prospect of him getting found out. I didn't really care about Jim and Carl either. I thought Jim and Carls dynamic was good at the beginning of the film ... when they're investigating the abduction case. Their dynamic is interesting, but it quickly spirals out of control towards the end of the film, which leads me on to my thirdly.

Side eye game is strong.
Thirdly, I feel like the first half of the film is great. It establishes a good tone and a consistent atmosphere, but it loses its steam about halfway through. The story begins to fall apart and everything starts to get out of hand, which is slightly farcical at points I felt, which isn't exactly in keeping with the rest of the film.

I'm bad at writing captions, let me die.
Criticisms aside though, I thought that from an aesthetic standpoint, the film looked great. I also got an ever so slightly David Fincher vibe from the director Matthew Saville. He wasn't afraid to just let things happen. We could watch a character go from point A to point B with no cuts, and if he could avoid it, he did. Conversations played out without cutting from face to face to face, and instead things were allowed just to unfold naturally. I think the cinematography is great, and the script also has some fantastic lines in it.

So basically, if you're looking for style over substance, then yeah, go ahead and watch it, but if you're looking for more, it may not be the film for you.

Till next week!

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