Film - Felony


The Australian drama from writer and star Joel Edgerton is reviewed here by our own felon, Steve Taylor-Bryant...

The tired and overplayed corrupt policeman theme gets a refreshing rebirth in this stunning drama from the pen of its star, Joel Edgerton. We start the film with Detective Malcom Toohey (Edgerton) on a bust. Whilst chasing a perpetrator Toohey gets shot but luckily the bullet proof vest saves his life. After celebrating at the local bar, both for the arrest and Toohey's safety, we get to see the first example of policemen who think they’re above the law as Toohey is let through a traffic stop by officers despite being inebriated, just because he is law enforcement, and so starts a chain of events that would change everyone’s lives forever. After passing the police check Toohey clips a boy on his bike leaving the child injured and in a coma. Detective Carl Summer (Tom Wilkinson) and his partner Jim Melic (Jai Courtney) have just left the flat of a suspect in a paedophile case they’re working and attend the scene, where the corruption continues as Summer gives Toohey a story to keep him out of trouble and fixes the breathalyser result and forensics so Toohey is off scott free.

Melic decides to keep investigating as he is sure that something isn’t right and it all comes to head at a meeting of the three men in a pub where Melic fights Summer bringing on a massive stroke in the veteran policeman. The child dies and racked with guilt Toohey wants to confess the truth when he is involved in another car collision and is found bleeding from the head profusely outside the apartment of the child’s mother. Will Melic still investigate him or feeling his own guilt about what happened to Summer, will he stay quiet?

Edgerton has gone beyond normal corruption in his tense and emotional thought provoking script. These aren’t huge levels of corruption in the way you would normally see, these are personal and human mistakes, they are ethical and moral decisions being made. Alongside the strong writing is some fantastic character acting. Tom Wilkinson is superb as Summer as he slips from sobriety to alcoholism due to the strains of his own part in the cover up. Edgerton puts in a strong performance as Toohey and lives his script, at points I felt myself empathising with Toohey, such was Edgertons portrayal, and Jai Courtney I only know from action films so it was a pleasure to see his broody, quiet persona spring to life in places. Also a special mention for the wonderful Melissa George as Julie, Toohey's wife. Whilst she is not in many scenes, the ones she is in she steals as she goes through the emotions of grief at her husband’s actions leaving a child dead, and the panic of needing him as a husband and father to their own children.

None of the actions taken by the characters are morally or legally right, and I do not condone anything in Felony but I can’t help questioning what I myself would do presented the same situation which has left me feeling very uncomfortable, and that is the point of the film.

Image - IMDb.

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