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DVD Review – Felony

3 min read

The Australian film industry is often underappreciated by most movie goers and generally on an international scale, yet we produce some absolute gems that are just as thrilling and gripping as the Hollywood blockbuster. Felony, written and starring the consistently reliable Joel Edgerton, is a gripping tale involving the police force in Sydney, and how one false move can have a complete domino effect on everyone involved.

Felony DVD coverMalcolm Toohey (Joel Edgerton) is a Sydney detective working on a major case involving Chinese laundering. After a successful bust and a near miss, Toohey celebrates with the rest of his crew and subsequently drink drives home. Cue a collision with a young paper boy William (Alex Nookadu) and Toohey covers up his crime with the help of fellow detective Carl Summer (Tom Wilkinson). Summers’ new partner Jim Melic (Jai Courtney) is suspicious of them both, and soon a three way struggle ensues about what the next move, right or wrong, will be. Toohey’s guilt starts to eat away at him, and he confesses his crime to his wife Julie (Melissa George), who urges him to stay quiet for the sake of their family. Melic, determined to discover what really happened that night, becomes close to Williams mother Ankhila (Sarah Roberts), causing a wedge between himself and the aging Summer, whose alcoholism comes screaming back to the surface under the pressure of covering Tooheys’ crime.

Both Edgerton and Courtney are great in their roles as the remorseful Toohey and the resolute Melic. These guys are making waves over in Hollywood at the moment, and it’s great to see them coming back to their roots in this Aussie thriller, cementing their status as ones to watch in future features. The star of the show however is definitely Wilkinson, who’s portrayal as the hard as nails, embattled Summer is just perfection. It’s a shame he isn’t better known in the states, for his performance here is stunningly solid that is deserves some level of recognition, regardless of scale. George, as the wife of a cop, is underused but stoic in the wake of tragedy which is all too real in this day and age. Faced with losing everything she and her husband have worked for, there are snippets of great emotional fragility in the more quiet moments George shares with Edgerton, and it’s wonderful to see her in a more grounded, sensitive role.

Not just a one trick pony, Edgerton penned this drama all on his lonesome. This isn’t his first foray into screen writing, as he helped adapt last years’ hit The Rover to the screen. Felony isn’t a tangled, mysterious thriller, as all the pieces of the puzzle come together in the first half of the movie. Rather, this is a story of the ‘grey’ area, that little puzzle that blurs the lines between what is clearly right and what is clearly wrong. All three major players through the course of the movie manage to do something ‘wrong’, in order to achieve the right end goal. That’s the type of screen writing that is becoming few and far between; the edgy, quiet films that put you in the position of ‘what would you do?’ The ones that make you think, that question not only your own sense of morality but also that of the people around you.

A slow burn dramatic thriller that leaves little mystery but still manages to ask a lot of questions, Felony is a great entry for the Australian film industry, proving that great movies can still be made regardless of lack of CGI or high action. Definitely worth a look if you’re a lover of movies that make you go hmmm.