Film Review: Son Of A Gun

A-Z Heist Trip

There’s a bounty of really excellent down under and dirty movies covering the criminal fraternity in the land of Oz, where all that sunshine has a great way of showing up every bit of grime. Various muddy gems particularly from the creative spittoon of David Michôd in Rover (2014), Animal Kingdom (2010) and Andrew Dominik’s (New Zealand born, but grew up in Australia) Chopper (2000) to name just a few from the herd. As with all the greats, they invariably encourage/inspire followers, and thus we have wandering in from a grand walkabout Julius Avery in his debut feature film Son Of A Gun (2014) starring none other than Ewan McGregor.


That walkabout analogy is unfortunately slightly too close to home in regards this debut. Whereas the varying successes of predecessors where purer/dirtier if just not downright uncomfortably daring (but all the more powerful for it) in their creation, they remained focused, and didn’t meander into what seems to be a multitude of movies/plots spliced together like fridge magnets picked up at petrol stations whilst crossing a sunburnt continent.

That may all sound a bit over harsh and disingenuous in regards Son Of A Gun, and it doesn’t really deserve that, as it’s not a bad movie(s) at all. Unfortunately it just doesn’t have the cruel/harsh killer focus.

A recent arrival to the world of prison life J.R. (Brenton Thwaites, also seen in the recent The Giver) is taken under the protective wing of really bad notorious person criminal Brendan (Ewan McGregor) and his fellow henchmen. In return for his survival, life and chess skills, J.R. is now indebted forever, and there’s a potentially hefty prize to pay upon his release back into society.


And so begins the journey through a vacation trip checklist of themes and genres, making sure everything is packed in. Everyone turns in a pretty decent job, but it’s an unfortunate scenario where though McGregor may be expanding his repertoire by doing evil, he’s more sinister looking when he’s smiling, at no real point does he feel intimidating, even when having ‘words’ with other naughty folk. The ever morphing plot creates annoyance rather than depth.

Again, having said all that, there are some really great stand out moments, particularly in a shopping trip to a gun dealer who is into some really dreadful techno (and I love techno), but it becomes frustrating when these more original moments are diluted with what seems to be focus grouped ideas.

There is zero doubt that Avery is off to a great start though, and this movie should be seen and supported, if anything the slight criticisms are an annoyance at what could have been if things had been more simple, focused, and indeed Outback brutal.


Son Of A Gun is out now.