Tagged: Jacek Koman

Sucker

Summary:  A young teenager teams up with an aging scammer and his daughter after he fails a High School exam.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 15th January 2016

Country: Australia

Director: Ben Chessell

Screenwriter: Ben Chessell, Laurence Leung

Cast: Eddie Baroo (Stu), Chris Broadstock (Andy), Ferdinand Hoang (Leo), Jacek Koman (Riley), Lawrence Leung (himself), Yang Li (Uncle Sam), John Luc (Lawrence), Shaun Micallef (Harry), Sophie Ross (Joy), Linda Scharagger (Mai-Ling), Dalip Sondhi (Rashid), Timothy Spall (The Professor), Jacinta Stapleton (Alice), Kat Stewart (Emma), Lily Sullivan (Sarah)

Runtime: 90 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR SUCKER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Normally when you think of a heist film you think of big stakes and huge amounts of action. It’s how modern day cinema has programmed us with films like Oceans 11 and The Fast And The Furious pushing the boundaries of the genre with every entry into their franchise. But now comes a heist movie with a real difference. Low budget film Sucker takes a look at the smaller heist and scams that probably go on around the world every single day. Hell, you’ve probably been a victim of them and not even realised.

The man pulling the scams is the aging rip off merchant who names himself The Professor (Timothy Spall). He has been successfully (and sometimes not so successfully) scamming people right around Australia for most of his life. Sure it might just be $50 here or $100 there but it pays the bills and keeps him going, he is more than happy. For the last few years he has also had his beautiful and skilful daughter, Sarah (Lily Sullivan) by his side. While she makes the scams easier she also causes The Professor pain as it makes him remember when he was blindsided himself with his ex-wife.

Then along comes Lawrence (John Luc who many would know as Youtube sensation MyChonny) a naive young Asian teenager who has just failed his family by being caught on his end of year school exams. Eager to make a change in his life (and perhaps just to escape his family for a while) Lawrence becomes intrigued by the world that The Professor lives in and decides that he wants to be his protégé.

Anyone expecting Sucker to compete on the same par as the above mentioned franchises is in for a big shock. Rather than you dazzle you with a massive amount of special effects and huge named stars Sucker is much more a well told character tale. Aside from the whole narrative idea of going along with the idea that this is comedian Lawrence Leung’s life story (or is it?) most of Sucker actually works pretty well.

The screenplay which comes from the pens of Lawrence Leung and director Ben Chessell (who has made his mark with directing hit television shows like Rush and Offspring) actually ends up working on a number of levels. There are a number of moments of comedy which do actually make the audience laugh but the power in this script is the basic yet interesting scams they have managed to include throughout the film.

Yes you do start to care about what happens to Lawrence, especially when the young virgin starts to develop feelings for Sarah, but what really holds your interest is just how basic and simple these various scams are and just how well they work. From scamming chess clubs to finding ways to make money while visiting country pubs these scams are really basic but as an audience you can’t wait to see what the reveal is or whether or not the characters get away with it or not.

Like a lot of Australian films there are some cheesy moments in Sucker but largely the good outweighs the bad. As I mentioned the film does have an emotional level, it’s not just scam after scam or trick after trick. As an audience you do actually invest an interest in the romance between Lawrence and Sarah, especially when you realise what a convincing con artist she is and you can’t help but wonder whether her affection is real or all part of another big scam. You also find yourself concerned about The Professor. The back story of his broken heart adds another element to his character but once again you are never one hundred per cent sure whether you can trust him or not. It might be a subtle kind of suspense that the filmmakers have come up with, but it is certainly there throughout the film.

The legendary Timothy Spall laps up this script with clear actor’s delight. Many of The Professor’s scams involve him pretending to be intoxicated and Spall takes these scenes and runs with them over-acting to his heart’s content. As an actor though he is also smart enough to know when to rope this character again and also gives The Professor moments of deep emotion and also cruel anger. Spall is well backed up by young Lily Sullivan who backs up her sensational performance in Galore to show why she should be considered one of Australia’s most promising young talents… it really is only a matter of time before Hollywood notices her. Making up the team is John Luc who despite his inexperience as an actor never gets blown out of the water by his much more experience co-stars and he reveals himself to be a future comedic force in the Australian film industry.

Sucker is a low budget gem that will have you laughing one moment and then deeply concerned the next. The film is made even more special by the acting talents of Timothy Spall but is well conceived scams that the screenwriters have come up with that will keep you watching.

 

 

Stars(2.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Sucker (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Sucker reviews: You can listen to our full Daddy’s Home  review on a future episode of  The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Sucker review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Sucker

With new Australian film Sucker being released on VOD this week Subculture Entertainment’s Dave Griffiths sat down with the star of the film John Luc to discuss how he went from Youtube sensation to leading man and what it was like to work with a talented cast including Lily Sullivan, Timothy Spall, Jacek Koman, Kat Stewart and Shaun Micallef

You can download Sucker now at www.suckerthemovie.net or iTunes.

You can listen to or download our Sucker – John Luc interview right here.

 

Son Of A Gun

Summary: While locked up for a minor offence, 19-yr-old JR (Thwaites) becomes apprentice to the enigmatic Brendan Lynch (McGregor), a calculating crime boss with connections both inside and out. After helping Lynch and his crew orchestrate a daring prison escape, JR is invited to join in on their next job – a high stakes heist that promises to deliver millions.

But as they plan the heist, JR begins to suspect he is being played and soon finds himself on a collision course with his mentor in a very dangerous game.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Julius Avery

Screenwriter: Julius Avery, John Collee

Cast: Eddie Baroo (Merv), Tom Budge (Josh), Nash Edgerton (Chris), Damon Herriman (Private Wilson), Sam Hutchin (Dave), Marko Jovanovic (Ken), Jacek Koman (Sam), Ivan Lightbody (Mitch), Ewan McGregor (Brendan), Matt Nable (Sterlo), Soa Palelei (Thomy), Brenton Thwaites (JR), Alicia Vikander (Tasha)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR SON OF A GUN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Son Of A Gun review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #101

Stars(3)

 

Dave Griffiths:

The heat is really on Australian films at the moment. Films this year that were supposed to be big hits – These Final Hours, The Rover and Felony – have all had dismal returns at the box office, and now comes Son of A Gun a film that has its producers (and the whole Australian film industry) watching with baited breath to see whether the inclusion of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor on the bill will be enough to make Australian audiences actually want to go and see the film in the cinemas.

Of course as Predestination and The Rover found out earlier this year the inclusion of international stars like Robert Pattinson and Ethan Hawke on the cast list doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the film is going to make an impact at the Box Office either. But what the producers of Son Of A Gun will be hoping is that the fact that Son Of A Gun is back in that gritty crime drama genre that has seen films such as Animal Kingdom become a hit in the past.

From first-time director Julius Avery, who has built a sturdy short film career, Son Of A Gun sees young small-time criminal JR (Brenton Thwaites) suddenly thrust into the rigours of a tough prison environment. While the brash young crim feels that he has what it takes to survive he suddenly finds himself needing the help of seasoned notorious armed robber Brendan (Ewan McGregor) who takes the young man under his wing and includes him in his plans for a violent prison breakout and resulting major heist at a Western Australian gold mine.

On the outside though JR and Brendan don’t find things to run as smoothly as they hoped. Brendan says that he is a crim-of-his-word although his honour is tested when they become involved with a rich mobster named Sam (Jacek Koman) who is money hungry and has no time for JR… especially when he sets his sights on one of Sam’s girls an immigrant named Tasha (Alicia Vikander).

But of course it takes more than some big names and a well believed in genre for a film to work and sadly it is in other areas where Son Of A Gun is largely let down. Early on things seem promising for Son Of A Gun it has all the grit and intensity off prison/crime films like Everynight, Everynight and Animal Kingdom while the actual prison breakout and some of the car chases almost lift this film into the action film genre, but this film is dangerously let down by some of the film’s slower moments.

At times the film seems like it wants to touch on the gangster romance element that made Two Hands so popular but the relationship here never wins the audience over the same way that the Heath Ledger/Rose Byrne chemistry did in the Aussie classic while the films last quarter is a massive let down. After the gold mine heist the film seems to lose its way, so badly that the ending feels like something you would have expected to see in a trashy American film like Wild Things. And of course if you’ve been a loyal audience member and kept a track of all the crumbs and sign posts that Avery has left so blatantly throughout the film you may get a really early sense of exactly what the big suspenseful moment is going to be during the finale as well.

The one thing that does lift Son Of A Gun up though, aside from the first brilliant twenty minutes, are the cast. Ewan McGregor does show that he is a class above everybody else in the film with a strong character performance that almost seems him become the rough-and-ready Brendan. He is well supported by young gun on the rise Brenton Thwaites whose tough boy image is very different to the pretty boy he recently played in The Giver.

The rest of the cast however are not quite so lucky. Alicia Vikander is given very little to work with at all. Her character motivation is weak and she quickly becomes a cliché as does many of the other ‘baddies’ in the film, a shame when you realise that actors such as Jacek Koman are capable of pulling off some really dramatic roles when they are called to. The big crime though is the treatment of Vikander whose role is so weak you can only wonder why she bothered making the trip out to Australia to make the film in the first place. Her performance is good, but the script lets her down.

Son Of A Gun is a film that seems like it is desperate to make the same grade as classic Australian crime films like The Boys, but sadly the films weak last quarter really drags it down and leaves a bad taste in the audience’s mouth. Worse is the fact that the opening of the film is so good that you are left wondering how the same screenwriter could be responsible for such a letdown of a finale. Son Of A Gun may briefly breathe life back into the Australia film industry but it is certainly not the saviour that everybody was hoping for.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Son of a Gun (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Son Of A Gun′: For our full Son Of A Gun review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #101 . Dave’s Son Of A Gun review can also be viewed on The Book The Film The T-Shirt

Trailer:

 

Son Of A Gun Still

SON OF A GUN is the debut feature of award-winning Australian director Julius Avery (Jerrycan). A smart edge-of-your-seat heist thriller starring Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Impossible), and talented newcomer Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, Maleficent), SON OF A GUN will screen in Official Competition at this year’s BFI London Film Festival. This also marks the film’s International Premiere.

Of his film screening at the festival, Avery said, “it is such a proud and exciting moment for everyone involved in SON OF A GUN to be in official competition at a festival as historic and respected as the BFI London Film Festival.”

SON OF A GUN tells the story of a young man who is drawn into the lawless world of a notorious criminal. Serving six months for a minor offence, 19-year-old JR (Thwaites) quickly learns the harsh realities of prison life. After a chance encounter, he finds himself under the watchful eye of the enigmatic Brendan Lynch (McGregor), a calculating crime boss with extensive connections both inside and out. In exchange for protection, JR becomes apprentice to Lynch, and upon release he must orchestrate Lynch’s daring prison escape.

Rewarded for his involvement and with a taste for the high life, JR joins the crew on their next job – a high stakes heist that promises to deliver millions. As he gets sucked deeper into Lynch’s criminal underworld, a tangled, co-dependent relationship develops. While planning the heist, he begins to suspect he is being played. Unsure of whom to trust, JR soon finds himself on a collision course with his mentor in a very dangerous game.

Shot in Perth, Melbourne and Kalgoorlie, SON OF A GUN also stars Alicia Vikander, Matt Nable, Damon Herriman, Tom Budge, Nash Edgerton and Jacek Koman. This taught psychological thriller is Avery’s debut feature. His short film Jerrycan won a Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The 58th BFI London Film Festival runs from October 8-19, 2014.

Entertainment One Australia will release SON OF A GUN in cinemas nationally on October 16, 2014.