Cinema Review: Swerve | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, July 11th, 2020  


Studio: Cohen Media Group
Directed by Craig Lahiff

Dec 04, 2013 Web Exclusive
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Waylaid in the remote Australian town of Neverest, former soldier Colin (David Lyons) gets caught in the crossfire between an unhinged cop, his seductive wife and an icy hitman as they all attempt to recover a suitcase full of drug money.

In the post-Tarantino/Coen Brothers cinema landscape, crime thrillers must go to great lengths to stand out amid a genre full of mediocre knock-offs.  An original premise, snappy dialogue, interesting characters and actors; a director with a strong grasp on any one of these aspects can fashion a memorable crime film.  Unfortunately, Craig Lahiff cannot lay claim to any of this in his new film, Swerve.

Over the course of a surprisingly interminable 86 minutes, Swerve plays out like a down under version of No Country for Old Men, sapped of any sense of tension, logic or charm.  As protagonist Colin and femme fatale Jina, David Lyons and Emma Booth bring little chemistry or believability to their respective roles.  The film hinges a great deal on the audience’s investment in their relationship, but never presents him as anything other than a confused pawn and keeps her motivations mysterious to the point that she becomes not so much a character but a series of endless plot complications.  Jason Clarke has the meatiest part as a jealous husband and corrupt cop, but cannot overcome the script’s ridiculous contrivances and bland dialogue.  Travis McMahon is well suited to the part of a taciturn, brutal hitman, but his screen time is minimal and the character ultimately feels extraneous.  Most jarring of all is the jaunty, upbeat score, which all but begs you to take none of this seriously.

Author rating: 2/10

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