Starring: Damian de Montemas, Sophie Lowe, Kestie Morassi, Simon Stone, Mark Leonard Winter, Ashley Zukerman
Runtime: 86 mins. Reviewed in Nov 2011
The action of this film takes place over a couple of hours. A music teacher finishes a class and drives home to his country house. He is attacked in his home by a masked group who attempt to kill him. As they speak and act, we hear some indications of who they are and why they are trying to kill the teacher. When one of them leaves his mobile phone behind, they decide to return to retrieve it, only to find that their victim is not dead. The process of killing him starts again but this time there is a lot more explanation, changes of attitudes in some of the characters, some revelations of secrets and lies, some truth and some final deceptions.
Audiences have a sympathy for the teacher who seems a decent type. We soon learn that his attackers are blaming him for the suicide of a student and of a sexual liaison with her. Our sympathies are challenged as we hear another side of the story. But, with a group of five in on the plan, it is much more complicated than that. In fact, our point of view is challenged several times as we learn more about all the characters.
The leader of the group is the sister of the dead girl who, deep down, is feeling guilty for not doing more to listen to her sister and her problems. She then feels guilty about not knowing the truth when she realises what has happened. The other girl in the attack is the dead girl’s best friend. We learn more about their relationship, though many in the audience might be suspicious about her involvement without quite knowing why. There are three young men involved. One is the dead girl’s boyfriend, a loud-mouth, a prone to violence type, who presumes guilt more on impulse than thought. Another is the dead girl’s brother who at first waits outside but then becomes more edgy and involved. The third man seems more secure but we find that he is rather easily led and manipulated and becomes more responsible for the complications which develop.
And, so the title? Who is to blame? And for what? The dead girl’s killing herself? Or for manipulations and deceptions?
The film was shot outside Perth and takes advantage of the bush settings and the isolated house, except for some tension as a postal delivery man turns up unexpectedly and the group have to evade detection – he leaves a note that he will come back later, and he does, which leads to more evasion and suspense for the characters and the audience. This is not just a suspense device because the contents of the package will reveal the truth.
A small Australian production, a bit repetitious and frantic at times. But, it does achieve what it set out to do, raises issues of revenge and violence, not thinking things through – and the dire consequences.
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