Impressive Technicals Defeated By Erratic Narrative Recipe.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 11/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Palpably raw power marks the camerawork for this Australian made film that unfortunately fails to yield the required intimacy and scope from within its script as accompaniment for inventive visuals, although it is potent enough to have been granted top awards for film, actor, and male director during the 2001 Melbourne Underground Film Festival, specially gratifying as the piece was shot rapidly and with a wee budget. A variegated assortment of four young men is cajoled by a confidence man, Phil (David Serafin), into opening a "gourmet" restaurant in Melbourne, having persuaded them that healthy profits will soon be enjoyed by all; however, after two years of operation, including a reduction of gastronomic standards, the business is ostensibly losing money, until the quartet ultimately learns that Phil is deflecting partnership funds to himself. Although taking revenge upon glib Phil becomes foremost in the minds of his four victims, they discover that it will not be easily managed, and it appears that one of them might instead be ill-fated in the course of fulfilling their retaliatory plans, particularly as two years of disappointment with their business venture, in addition to a widely disparate mix of personalities, has brought about increasing dissension among them. This is after being a summary of the action, but the film is fundamentally an exercise in cinematic technique, utilizing red filters to separate parallel storylines and a great deal of elaborate post-production editing nicely grafts the tale together; unhappily, invasive scoring that at times overwhelms dialogue, and monochromatic script development for some of the parts, lessens the work's impact. Pacing is frenetic to an extreme, and by the time the expected "twist" ending arrives, some viewers may well be exhausted. Serafin is outstanding as the rascally Phil, gaining the acting laurels here, and all of the principals perform ably under skillful direction from Matthew George. The DVD release offers fine visual and audio quality, but provides no extra features other than a trailer."