DVD Felony

DVD Felony
DVD Felony

Run time: 105 min
Rating: 6.9
Genres: Thriller
Director: Matthew Saville
Writers: Joel Edgerton
Stars: Joel Edgerton, Jai Courtney, Melissa George
Three male detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in a coma. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. How far will these men go to both disguise and unravel the truth?
Country: Australia, USA
Release Date: 28 August 2014 (Australia)


  1. There is a certain respect for festival films, a respect that acknowledges the notion that no idea is too small or no ambition is too large for the subject matter of a feature film. Within the limited space of a logline, Felony sounds like a small, tired and exhaustedly simple idea for a narrative feature length film. Instead, this little film that could, turns out to be a complex parable of the power of choice, the innate instinct to survive and asks the question of, how is the goodness of a person measured?

    Felony is a personal little Australian film. Written by Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Animal Kingdom) and directed by veteran Australian television director Matthew Saville, Felony is a film full of emotion insistent of tackling challenging subject matter.

    The film begins by showing Malcolm Toohey risking his life and taking two bullets to his bullet- proof vest for the sake of justice–Malcolm is a celebrated police officer. Just as Malcolm's credibility as a just and righteous cop is established, the filmmakers challenge the notion immediately. After getting in his car from the local pub, in celebration of their recent bust, Malcolm finds himself in a moral and ethical dilemma after he side-swipes a young boy on his bicycle. Unsure and hesitant at first, Malcolm calls the ambulance, which shortly brings police, emergency and medical services to the scene. Among those called to the scene, are veteran Detective Carl Summer (the always impressive Tom Wilkinson) and rookie officer Jim Melic (Jai Courtney) to investigate the scene and take statements. What starts off as a simple lie, builds and transforms itself in a catalyst of chaos that affects the lives of everyone involved.It has been a long time that a film like this, with many layers, has left me with so much to say, yet has crippled my ability to say anything at all. This has been one of the hardest reviews to write for a long time, simply for my teetering opinion and questions that I find myself asking and answering for a solid final thought. First and foremost, kudos needs to be given to scribe Joel Edgerton. Edgerton, who has only just broken out into A-List acting territory after his tour-de-force in Gavin O'Connor's Warrior, and this year's The Great Gatsby, has crafted a script that tackles so many challenging and loaded, yet realistic hypocrisies or double standards within society. This realistic yet earnest interpretation is even more inspiring coming from a acting celebrity since, like police officers, civil servants or specialized professionals are exempt from certain laws, the celebrity lifestyle is one which also allows for certain leniencies or pardons simply because of its status. It seems like a very promising and intimate script from Edgerton who really hones in on his skill to humanize and empathize with his characters and their many layers of emotions and needs.

    Along with Edgerton, the film is driven by its actors. Jai Courtney, who has since been a supporting man to some of Hollywood biggest actions stars (Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher and Bruce Willis in A Good Day To Day Hard) has undoubtedly delivered his finest and most complex performance of his young career. Poised beside the legendary Tom Wilkinson, Courtney holds his own in a film that is bustling with new and old acting talent. Wilkinson's Summer is a familiar character, yet the actor portrays Summer with an intensity and restrain that allows for the audience to agree and disagree with the characters actions, simultaneously.Felony is a film drenched with human emotion, guilt and truth. Director Matthew Saville does a wonderful job of giving the audience guidance as well as ambiguous interpretation in his tight shots and cuts. Giving his actors freedom and allowing for each actor to embody their characters, Felony is a real portrait of the mundane, the unexplainable and the misfortunes of good people. Showing similar parallels to another TIFF alumni and former TIFF Audience Award winner in Paul Haggis' 2005 Crash, Felony, at times, may seem too coincidental or gimmicky, but maintains its credibility as a drama thanks to its performances and strong script.

    Felony shows that at the end of the day, its not about choosing sides or marking the bad guys or good guys, because, at any which day, anyone can be a good person or bad person. The thing that matters, like with any action, is that there is an equal or opposite reaction, and it is in the power of the individual, to make sure that that reaction, is one filled with passion, love as well as righteous moral/ethical intentions.

    Sometimes, people find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time, or vice versa. The film is a study to completely rebuttal Wilkinson's character's best line, "Time and the world, swallow events", and challenge this notion by showing that it's the choice of the individual that dictates the time we live in this world and the events that surround us.

    Night Film Reviews: 8/10 Stars

  2. This film debuted at TIFF and I was lucky enough to sit in on the world premiere. "Felony" stars the on screen talents of Joel Edgerton, Tom Wilkinson, Melissa George, and Jai Courtney or Jr. John McClane from the new "Die Hard" feature. "Felony" comes to us from director Matthew Saville the long time television director and previous director of "Noise" from 2007. He now collaborates with both writer and star Edgerton in order to bring this tale of principles to the screen.

    This tale tales dives into the story of 3 police officers that all become entangled in a web of deceit that could destroy more than a few lives and careers. A veteran detective strikes a child on a bicycle on his way home after having more than a few drinks, and the events that he describes to his fellow officers don't exactly represent the truth. Of the two detectives that show up to investigate one is an old-school man in blue that wants nothing more than to protect his fellow officer, but his younger and more ethical partner wants to begin an investigation that would eventually unravel the facts many would like to keep secret.

    Well people once again at TIFF this year I went into this film expecting to see a standard police drama, and once again I was surprised by a fresh and compelling tale. The director does a very nice job visually and he unfolds the drama and mystery at just the right pace, & he made use of hand held cameras from time to time by not over-using them throughout the movie. Also, Edgerton's script never gives you any more information than you need at any one time in the film, and his screenplay at least took chances with a child victim & police corruption. Most of all however the story always beckons the question, "What would you do?" Now because "Felony" could be considered a smaller film it absolutely relies on strong or solid performances, and thankfully the 4 main stars really don't disappoint. I'll start with Edgerton who wrote himself a very good character. He proves once again that he can hold a film together, and the sympathy for this guy is the driving force of the project. You easily feel for the guy, and Edgerton accurately depicts inner turmoil and personal suffering of conscience. Then his wife is portrayed by the mostly credible Melissa George, and this could be her best work in years. At her character's foundation is a mother that would do anything to protect her family and she encourages her husband to keep quiet. I think her best line is when she says to Edgerton, "I hate you for making me say this"…and that is in reference to her character wanting her husband to stand mute and to not take responsibility for his actions.

    The other 2 cops are played by Jai Courtney & Tom Wilkinson, and Courtney is solid as the young and righteous rookie detective. You believe his change the world attitude and that he wants to do what is right, and he is also a brilliant contrast to his older more run-down partner brought to life by one of the best actors alive in Tom Wilkinson. Wilkinson is great as this aging and alcoholic cop and he simply owns this character right from the start. He is so good on screen that many times he looks like he's not even acting because he's just so natural. Wilkinson is also responsible for "Felony's" only moments of humor which are scarce, and he also fuels the movie's main conflict.

    This brings me to my normal segment of "Nick-Picking" issues. I will start these by saying that the main character has this struggle and conflict that is powerful, but the film on a whole lacked this emotional force. "Felony" also could've had a stronger ending, and throughout the police drama it introduced side crime stories that really just went nowhere. This film is good but it is definitely not great. There were moments where I could see them going for something like an "L.A. Confidential" kind of theme with the three cops and the distinct behaviors, but this movie is nowhere near the caliber of that film.

    I clocked "Felony" at right around 1 hour and 40 minutes, and if I had to pick one word to describe it I would use the word 'Solid'. This was a solid police tale that instead of tackling the usual drugs, gangs, and chase sequences brought us a compelling drama of principles & conscience. Joel Edgerton once again shows that he can headline a film, and this time struts his stuff as a credible screenwriter as well. A strong supporting cast helps to raise this film above the realm of simply average, and all and all this is a quality movie. Nick's ReelScreenReviews is of course a 'Solid' recommendation of 3 stars out of 4, and that's for the police drama "Felony".

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