Dir/Scr: Craig Lahiff. Australia. 2011. 87mins
A stylish, self-confident genre flick, Swerve hits the ground running with a spectacular car crash, some large explosions, a near-miss by a speeding train and a dead drug-runner’s suitcase full of $100 bills. Whereas other similarly budgeted Aussie movies with loftier concerns get local releases, this nifty, straight-up thriller, which premiered at the Melbourne Film Festival, is still looking for a local distributor. Interntional sales by Moviehouse Entertainment have already begun.
Lahiff’s careful close-ups and camera placements are backed by David Foreman’s elegant widescreen cinematography.
Director/writer Craig Lahiff has done constrained, serious-minded work in the past: Black And White (2002) concerned real-life 1950s racism. Here he lets rip with some Hitchcockian style on a smartly told bent-cops-and-sexy-robbers caper set in the remote backblocks.
Our hero Colin (David Lyons) is on his way to a job interview in Broken Hill when an unexpected swerve, a fatal collision and Jina (Emma Booth), a smouldering blonde in distress, lead him —and the McGuffin suitcase — to the small oasis township of Neverest. Here he encounters, among other suspicious locals, strapping cop Frank (Jason Clarke), ex-army, psychotic and sexually deviant; and Charlie (Travis McMahon), a truly vicious villain. The plot’s twists and turns are neatly revealed, only occasionally implausible.
Lahiff’s careful close-ups and camera placements are backed by David Foreman’s elegant widescreen cinematography. Both have fun with a descent into an abandoned mine shaft, and with the concluding sequences aboard a speeding passenger train. There’s a suitably driving soundtrack from composer Paul Grabowsky.
All that’s needed now is a distributor and an audience. And a marketing budget to compete with US thrillers offering no more thrills than here.
Production company: Duo Art Productions
International sales: Moviehouse Entertainment, www.moviehouseent.com
Producers:Helen Leake, Kent Smith, Craig Lahiff
Executive producers: Mark Vennis, Gary Phillips, Bryce Menzies
Cinematography: David Foreman
Editor: Sean Lahiff
Production designer: Tony Cronin
Music: Paul Grabowsky
Main cast: Jason Clarke, Emma Booth, David Lyons, Travis McMahon, Vince Colosimo, Roy Billing, Chris Haywood