By Jessica Leafe
Felony follows the aftermath of a car accident in suburban Sydney that leaves a young boy in a coma. Three police officers are involved, played by Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney, from A Good Day To Die Hard (2013) and Divergent (2014), and writer and co-producer Joel Edgerton. One of these cops is guilty, and becomes torn between shame and fear of discovery. Another is the straight young cop, set to reveal the truth and restore justice despite threatening the balance of police dynamics.
Directed by Matthew Saville (who has worked on various comedy television series and dramas) Felony proceeds steadily, introducing its leading cast with multiple hints as to character and relationships. The cast, which also includes Melissa George as the wife of Joel Edgerton’s character Malcolm Toohey, play their mixed agendas well. Tom Wilkinson’s Australian accent is so flawlessly executed that it is easy to forget the actor is British, and Jai Courtney as Jim Melic delivers the rookie cop with naive certainty and stony righteousness. Edgerton’s writing avoids the potential “good cop, bad cop” character stereotyping more and more as the film progresses, revealing the shades of grey behind the policemen and families involved.
The film’s events spiral from a simple case of police corruption, a covert setup of mutual chummy back-scratching and law-bending. The film itself, however, is more concerned with the individuals involved and what each of them has to lose. Though wrought with high stakes, it is not an action film, but its web of psychological imbalance and impending ramifications results in an intriguing movie. Felony is a thoughtful and refreshing take on police drama that focuses on the principles at stake with an absorbing perplexity.
Felony is released in cinemas across Australia tomorrow.
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