After settling his nerves with a few drinks after an intense raid Police Detective Malcolm Toohey (Joel Edgerton) does the unthinkable and on the drive home accidentally clips a young boy riding a bike.
With the young boy in hospital in a coma (expected to die) Malcolm is faced with the dilemma of whether he should own up to the accident or keep to the story that he told at the scene, that he simply found the boy like that. Tension mounts as Detective Carl Summer (Tom Wilkinson) tells more lies to get Malcolm in the clear but eager, young Detective Jim Melic (Jai Courtney) starts to uncover holes in the story.
If you’ve never seen the Australian film called The Square go seek it out right now, sit down and watch it. The film is an underrated gem, in my opinion one of the best written crime thrillers ever. It was also the film that showed that not only is actor Joel Edgerton a great actor he is also one of the finest screenwriters going around as well. Then when you also consider that his pen was involved with the storyline of The Rover you can see why there should be more excitement about the release of Felony. Yes I know it’s okay to be excited about the release of your favourite director’s or favourite actor’s latest film, so why shouldn’t it be okay to get a little excited when a good screenwriter’s work is about to hit the big screen.
The one thing we learnt from both The Square and The Rover is that Edgerton knows how to write suspense. Not the slice ‘n’ dice horror style suspense that Hollywood seems to like to serve up these days, no he delivers that good old fashioned crime suspense. The sort that has you asking ‘who the hell did it’ or delivers a scene where you know something bad is going to happen you just don’t know how or to who.
With Felony the suspense almost takes you from surprise. It’s not your traditional ‘who did it’ crime thriller, it’s more of a ‘okay he did it, can he or should he get away with it?’ and you know what? It works. For the most part the suspense bubbles away under the surface, rising at times when you least expect it. Because you also know that a Joel Edgerton script often has a sinister twist at some point there is also an air of suspense as you wonder what the hell is going to happen next. Add that to the fact that the screenplay consists of some really well written dramatic dialogue between characters and once again Mr. Edgerton has delivered a gem of a script.
The screenplay also allows for some great acting performances. Joel Edgerton once again puts in a faultless performance, something that he has been doing since he first appeared on our screens in The Secret Life Of Us but even he is overshadowed by Tom Wilkinson who is remarkable as the crusty, jaded Detective who has seen better days.
Perhaps the biggest winners from the screenplay though are Jai Courtney and Melissa George. Despite delivering some great dramatic performances over the years, especially recently in Between Us, George still has a stigma around of her being a soapie actress (thanks to her start on Home & Away) but here she silences those critics as she plays a mother who just wants to protect her children. Likewise most audience members would most likely associate with action films given his roles in Divergent, A Good Day To Die Hard and Jack Reacher but here Courtney shows that he is not exactly a fish out of water when he is handed a wordy script and some dramatic scenes to deliver.
Felony may not deserve to be held in as high regard as The Square but it is still a fairly decent crime thriller. Joel Edgerton’s script gives director Matthew Saville a dream run and he delivers the same style of dark filmmaking that he brought to the table with Noise which just adds to the slow burn suspense that finds itself seeping onto the audience.
With some great acting performances and a storyline that twists and turns itself to a rewarding ending you could do a lot worse than sitting down and watching Felony.
Director: Matthew Saville
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney, Melissa George
Running Time: 105 minutes
Release Date: TBA