Film - Racket


Chris Smith finishes his Raindance Film Festival coverage with a bit of a Racket ...

Long estranged from his family, Amil returns home to Bosnia to find his father under threat from a local gangster. When his father suffers a near-fatal heart attack, Amil's temper boils over and he confronts the gangster directly - with all of the risks that entails...

Racket is a low-budget gangster flick, directorial debut of Amir Buljugic and it shows. Buljugic is clearly a director still learning his craft. While he obviously understands the theory and the elements needed for a engaging thriller movie, he is t confident enough for those elements to blend together naturally. As a result, Racket suffers from many of the issues common in a director's early work: intrusive and often unnecessary music; awkward pauses in dialogue; scenes filled with the boring minutiae of real life; and clumsy action sequences. Add to this Racket's shoestring budget and the poor subtitling (spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and subtitles appearing before someone speaks) and this film because rather difficult to stay with.

However, Buljugic does show some promise and Racket contains moments of inspiration. Annan Haskovic really does carry the film as Amil and he's certainly a leading man who could go far. A meeting between Amil and a politician being blackmailed by the same man Amil is fighting against, is well-thought out with almost Heat-like tension. In truth, this is the high point of the film but isn't used as well as it could have been.

This is another issue with the film. For a crime/thriller movie, prime opportunities to ramp up the drama are annoyingly ignored (most likely for financial reasons). When Amil kidnap of the gangster who's threatening his family goes wrong, there's no cat and mouse chase across the Bosnian countryside. He just goes back to Sarajevo and waits for him. When Amil brokers a deal with the aforementioned politician to save his family, everyone keeps their word. A happy ending certainly but not a thrilling or exciting one.

This is Racket's biggest problem. For a variety of reasons, it loses steam midway and comes to a neat ending as quickly as it can before it completely falls apart. This is a shame but not uncommon. Hopefully Buljugic's next project will be better.

Image - Raindance
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