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Felony (2013)

 -  Thriller  -  17 October 2014 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 116 users  
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Three male detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in a coma. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. How far will these men go to both disguise and unravel the truth?

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Three male detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in a coma. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. How far will these men go to both disguise and unravel the truth?

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A Solid Drama of Conscience - A TIFF Review by ReelScreenReviews
22 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film debuted at TIFF and I was lucky enough to sit in on the world premiere. "Felony" stars the on screen talents of Joel Edgerton, Tom Wilkinson, Melissa George, and Jai Courtney or Jr. John McClane from the new "Die Hard" feature. "Felony" comes to us from director Matthew Saville the long time television director and previous director of "Noise" from 2007. He now collaborates with both writer and star Edgerton in order to bring this tale of principles to the screen.

This tale tales dives into the story of 3 police officers that all become entangled in a web of deceit that could destroy more than a few lives and careers. A veteran detective strikes a child on a bicycle on his way home after having more than a few drinks, and the events that he describes to his fellow officers don't exactly represent the truth. Of the two detectives that show up to investigate one is an old-school man in blue that wants nothing more than to protect his fellow officer, but his younger and more ethical partner wants to begin an investigation that would eventually unravel the facts many would like to keep secret.

Well people once again at TIFF this year I went into this film expecting to see a standard police drama, and once again I was surprised by a fresh and compelling tale. The director does a very nice job visually and he unfolds the drama and mystery at just the right pace, & he made use of hand held cameras from time to time by not over-using them throughout the movie. Also, Edgerton's script never gives you any more information than you need at any one time in the film, and his screenplay at least took chances with a child victim & police corruption. Most of all however the story always beckons the question, "What would you do?" Now because "Felony" could be considered a smaller film it absolutely relies on strong or solid performances, and thankfully the 4 main stars really don't disappoint. I'll start with Edgerton who wrote himself a very good character. He proves once again that he can hold a film together, and the sympathy for this guy is the driving force of the project. You easily feel for the guy, and Edgerton accurately depicts inner turmoil and personal suffering of conscience. Then his wife is portrayed by the mostly credible Melissa George, and this could be her best work in years. At her character's foundation is a mother that would do anything to protect her family and she encourages her husband to keep quiet. I think her best line is when she says to Edgerton, "I hate you for making me say this"…and that is in reference to her character wanting her husband to stand mute and to not take responsibility for his actions.

The other 2 cops are played by Jai Courtney & Tom Wilkinson, and Courtney is solid as the young and righteous rookie detective. You believe his change the world attitude and that he wants to do what is right, and he is also a brilliant contrast to his older more run-down partner brought to life by one of the best actors alive in Tom Wilkinson. Wilkinson is great as this aging and alcoholic cop and he simply owns this character right from the start. He is so good on screen that many times he looks like he's not even acting because he's just so natural. Wilkinson is also responsible for "Felony's" only moments of humor which are scarce, and he also fuels the movie's main conflict.

This brings me to my normal segment of "Nick-Picking" issues. I will start these by saying that the main character has this struggle and conflict that is powerful, but the film on a whole lacked this emotional force. "Felony" also could've had a stronger ending, and throughout the police drama it introduced side crime stories that really just went nowhere. This film is good but it is definitely not great. There were moments where I could see them going for something like an "L.A. Confidential" kind of theme with the three cops and the distinct behaviors, but this movie is nowhere near the caliber of that film.

I clocked "Felony" at right around 1 hour and 40 minutes, and if I had to pick one word to describe it I would use the word 'Solid'. This was a solid police tale that instead of tackling the usual drugs, gangs, and chase sequences brought us a compelling drama of principles & conscience. Joel Edgerton once again shows that he can headline a film, and this time struts his stuff as a credible screenwriter as well. A strong supporting cast helps to raise this film above the realm of simply average, and all and all this is a quality movie. Nick's ReelScreenReviews is of course a 'Solid' recommendation of 3 stars out of 4, and that's for the police drama "Felony".


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