In 1970s Australia, Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell), a private young man in his twenties, is trying to make a life for himself in a new city. He has found honest work and becomes engaged to the beautiful Paula (Jessica De Gouw). But the prospect of his new life is challenged when the charismatic Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) tracks him down. Sparra finds himself drawn back into a world that he thought he had left behind.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A young crim out of jail, trying to go straight ... hardly an original concept, but Blake Ayshford's screenplay gives it a novel twist and extra layers, while director Tony Ayres pushes for an edgy delivery. It's the sort of drama the Scandinavians make very well but shoot much darker. Australian light tends to counteract the dark themes, but the physical environment provides industrial grit, to make up for the lack of gloom.
Sullivan Stapleton is impressive as the hard core Pommie, a crim with 'danger' oozing from every pore. He is the first character we meet, and he instantly establishes the arrogant, physically propelled, thuggish, anti social figure ... without saying a word. Alex Russell as the good looking young man with a new chapter to live has a tougher role, less to work with, while Jessica De Gouw excels as the lovely Paula, caught in a surprise love triangle.
There are dips in the pace and the tension, a couple of clunky moments, but for the most part, the film maintains interest from the opening, dialogue-free scene accompanied by a slightly jarring operatic excerpt - perhaps intended to alert us to what's coming. This musical device is in contrast to the closing ballad, Wild is the Wind, an apt, melancholy classic; both pieces signal a sophisticated musical palate and both are counter-programmed for dramatic effect.
Sexuality and sex play important roles and Ayres stitches together a couple of sex scenes that are directly relevant to the story and the characters, letting editor Andy Canny do a fine job of sewing them together, thanks in part to Simon Chapman's camerawork.
I have deliberately avoided revealing too much about the story because it really deserves to be discovered as the filmmakers tell it.
Email this article
CUT SNAKE (MA15+)
CAST: Sullivan Stapleton, Alex Russell, Jessica De Gouw, Megan Holloway, Kerry Walker, Robert Morgan
PRODUCER: Trevor Blainey, Michael McMahon
DIRECTOR: Tony Ayres
SCRIPT: Blake Ayshford
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Simon Chapman
EDITOR: Andy Canny
MUSIC: Cornel Wilczek
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Josephine Ford
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: eOne
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 24, 2015