I confess this movie confused me.
It’s an Australian cop drama, the first feature film from television director Matthew Saville. It begins with a chilling mass murder scene where a young woman (Maia Thomas) enters a commuter train and sees it is strewn with dead bodies. She also might see or interact with the murderer, though the details of that are left mysterious.
The movie is kind of about the investigation of the mass murder, though mostly it focuses on a cop (Brendan Cowell) with a sort of desk job in the neighborhood who is only peripherally connected with the case (i.e., if people come in wanting to talk about the case or offer up any evidence, he’ll passively receive them).
The murder investigation plot moves along slowly, because we’re shown lots of stuff about the cop’s health issues (he suffers from tinnitus), his private life, other goings-on in the neighborhood, etc.
There are seemingly multiple plots progressing simultaneously, generating the expectation that perhaps most or all of them will turn out to be connected after all.
But I ended up with the impression that mostly they aren’t connected, and so most of the threads just never go anywhere nor get resolved. Unfortunately, I was sufficiently confused by how things played out that I can’t say that with great confidence.
I’m not even convinced that some of the loose ends that seemed to get tied up really were. And I also don’t know if my uncertainty about that is a product of intentional ambiguity on the part of the filmmaker, or just my missing available evidence. Maybe the primary case of that being that I think–though I’m not certain–that we’re supposed to take the guy in the shootout at the end to be the killer. But if there’s really evidence to establish that–beyond just that it’s to be expected in a movie that if there’s a shootout at the end it would be with the killer and not some other random character–then I missed it.
A large part of the problem is I could only understand 75%-80% of the dialogue due to the heavy Australian accents and unfamiliar slang. (Though this difficulty mostly detracted from my enjoyment of the film, I will say some of the Australian slang–which I can’t repeat here due to it going a bit beyond PG-13–is a hoot.) It also doesn’t help that much of the film takes place in darkness or low light at night, making it difficult to keep track of who’s who and what’s going on.
So for both aural and visual reasons–and I’m pretty sure at least some intentional ambiguity on the part of the filmmaker–I ended up with only a limited grasp of this movie.
I’m guessing it’s actually a decent movie, if you can understand all the details and how they relate to each other. The main character’s at least somewhat interesting, I was drawn in by wanting to know what happens with the killer, it seems well-acted, it has some psychological sophistication in how it presents the characters and their relationships, etc. It didn’t feel as long as it was; I was moderately interested or better pretty much the whole movie.
I want to like this movie more than I do. Unfortunately in the end I was just too confused by it.