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Pulpy Neo-Noir in the Australian Outback.
Spikeopath8 August 2014
Swerve is written and directed by Craig Lahiff. It stars Emma Booth, Jason Clarke, David Lyons, Vince Colosimo and Travis MacMahon. Music is by Paul Grabowsky and cinematography by David Foreman.

It was done absolutely no favours by the marketing department, the studio executives clearly not having a clue what sort of film they had on their hands. Even the home format releases are adorned with enticing slogans such as "The New Mad Max" and etc, which is utter tosh and only of use to dupe high energy action film fans into buying the product.

Swerve is a clinical piece of neo-noir, it stabs its tongue into its bloody cheek whilst adhering with great success to the conventional rules of film noir. The characterisations, the triple pronged narrative front and visual ticks are all here, with a healthy slice of sly humour sprinkled over the top of things.

Story will be familiar to purveyors of noir and its devilish off-shoots. Man comes across the remnants of an auto-mobile crash, bringing him into contact with a gorgeous lady and her less than stable husband. Oh and there's a suitcase full of cash as well. From there it's welcome to noirville – Oz style, as characters battle hard to keep out of the sticky cobweb woven by Lahiff.

Violence and action marries up with the cunning machinations of the characters, where of course nothing is ever as it seems, the means and motivations shady at best. Grabowsky serves up a quirky music score that probably shouldn't fit an Australian neo-noir, but it really does, especially upon reflection of the story at pic's culmination.

Lahiff and Foreman offer up some super cinematography. The Australian vistas are sumptuous, the sun drenched back drops perfect for a sweaty tale of dupe, divide and domination. Classical noir visuals are used with great effect, as shadows and rippled reflections drive home the psychological discord pulsing away in the plot.

Booth (The Boys Are Back), Clarke (Texas Killing Fields/Lawless) and Lyons (Save Your Legs!) turn in crackling performances for their director, with Booth standing out as she sizzles and sauces the femme fatale role that shows an acting talent few give her credit for.

Problems exist with a couple of the action sequences, Lahiff not a dab hand at constructing with conviction. Elsewhere the comparisons with films of a similar ilk, better ones, serve a familiarity factor that some may find hard to forgive (Lahiff practically remaking his own Fever from 1989). Yet this deserves better than its current low ranking on internet sites. A victim of poor marketing as votes from those not expecting a neo-noir have been held against it. Neo buffs should check it out. 7.5/10
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'Right turn, right place, right time'
movies_my_way29 April 2012
I saw Swerve at the Melbourne International Film Festival last year. What a ride! The films' director Craig Lahiff (previous film fame Heavens' Burning (Russell Crowe) and Black and White (Robert Carlyle)) prefaced the screening by saying "have fun" – I sure did! Too often Aussie audiences seem to take Aussie films too seriously, this was just good old' entertainment and the audience really got into it! Swerve is an action packed and sexy neo-noir thriller with twists, turns and all sorts of goodies in-between. It's a confident film and knows how to have some fun. The twisting plot always keeps you on your toes and the hot Aussie stars David Lyons, Emma Booth and Jason Clarke are all well cast for their roles. It was great to see an Australian film with some proper action in it. Roy Billing and Chris Haywood make some colorful cameos. Travis McMahon plays a ripper of a bad guy and it was good to see Vince Colosimo in some rough-house fight sequences. Hopefully Swerve comes out in cinemas soon – everywhere it plays it gets a great response. Australia should make more movies like this!
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Excellent fast action movie from Australia
alatacz28 May 2012
I have watched this movie twice, once at the "Premiere in Melbourne", and another time on a flight to Europe.

I enjoyed it very much, the reason why I watched twice.

The film is beautiful for its pictures filmed in South Australia (Flinders Ranges), and it is exciting due to its fast pace.

The story, which was detailed by other reviewers earlier, is exciting and keeps the viewer entertained at all times.

It is about money, love and revenge.

I would have no hesitation to see it a third time...

Anya Melbourne, Australia
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Red Rock Down Under
cmoyton26 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If you are going to rip off another movie it's a prerequisite that an effort is made to bring something new to the table . For a while at least Tarantino did it , making plagiarism an art form. When it fails all is left is a lame copycat - a la Swerve. Yes there are elements of U Turn here but mostly this is Nicholas Cage noir thriller Red Rock West revisited

  • Young, honest but somewhat naiver ex army jobless drifter ends up in a rural backwater town he cannot escape.

-Hooks up with a couple who happen to be a corrupt sheriff and his scheming femme fatale wife

-A stash of stolen money

-A hit-man in the town in pursuit

-The film climax on the freight train carriage

Sounds familiar ? Even tracking shots zooming in on the town road sign. Sigh. Sure there are some variations in the set up and script between the movies but the core of this film is a rip off. Add to that the cod Spaghetti western and coffee table muzak score. Not much to recommend

Nic Cage at his peak, Dennis Hopper, J.T Walsh and Lara Flynn Boyle versus this lo brow Australian effort. No contest.
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U-Turn 2
ptb-828 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This gets a 6 out of ten and that is ONLY for the photography. Sadly SWERVE actually crashes from sheer improbable plot points and absurd action moments that leave the viewer less and less enthusiastic as the silliness rolls on. The opening sequence is terrific and if you saw U TURN in 1997 you will feel this film is almost an Australian remake. Once the deceit and double deceit begins to overtake the plausibility of choices (oh I dropped my car keys down that well where we just dumped a body) and stunts (Cop leaps onto roof of speeding train nonsense) SWERVE careens out of control of the reality it strives to show. Good looking Aussie cast and very well realized production, SWERVE starts to ask too much of its audience when THE NARROW MARGIN sequence takes over and we are on a speeding train complete with every cast member who hasn't been whacked... and a few who have. The lead character really could just have gone home at any time leaving the femme fatale in the dust, and the most eyerolling moment comes when he retrieves his car and comes speeding back to town (why?) for a beer at the pub. In a previous scene all 4 tyres were shot out from the car and the window smashed. However after retrieving his keys he just speeds back into town car all fixed up somehow... especially when the car was damaged in front of the crime scenes on a property surely under investigation by now. Also magically their house has a second floor which is never seen from outside as every shot shows it as a single floor dwelling... but inside there is a stairway up to another floor. It all gets sillier and asks the audience to be really dumb and not think for a minute about what just happened and go with whatever is on screen exactly this every second. It copies a lot of U TURN ans some of NARROW MARGIN and wants to be NORTH BY NORTHWEST. It is none of those at all. The audience tolerance for the implausibility takes a u-turn when the chief cop rushes to the local railway station to catch up with his wife and our hero leaving on a train (like it is 1955) ...he gasps as the train rolls out of the station... all of which begs the obvious question: why did he not just radio ahead to the station ID himself and tell the stationmaster to hold the train?. SWERVE is another good looking well made film that will only appeal to morons, and those few who might rent the DVD one day in a weekly stack of 10 for $5. There is a character killed who we do not see previously: his body is found (in the mineshaft... yes the ol' silver mine) and they later discuss him as if we know who he is. At 83 minutes SWERVE did not avoid the speedy editing scissors either.
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Great Suspense
Tony Rome17 October 2011
This film just had its North American premiere this evening at The Hamptons International Film Festival. The crowd loved this picture. It is big on action and suspense, and it has a strange twist, which I will not disclose. The story is set in a small village in Australia, in which an innocent by standard is inadvertently drawn into a web of sex, drugs, money, and murder. These are all elements that make a good action film. The acting is very well done, the photography and direction are excellent, and Emma Boothe is really sexy. The film received a standing ovation in East Hampton NY, it should hopefully get a wide release *****
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Great movie! Leave reality at the door, immerse yourself in the story, and get ready for a fantastic experience.
Heartsong118610 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I went to see Swerve on December 6th and 7th. I'm glad I saw it twice, because there were a lot of little things that I picked up the second time around that I'd missed in the first viewing. I love films that have that sort of layering -- what a great surprise for people who go to see them more than once, and an incentive for others to see them again! Wish I could've seen the movie a third time before it left the theater. What a disappointment to find that it was not held out for the following weekend (contrary to what I had been told by someone at the theater when I called on the 8th to find out how long it would be there). Guess I'll just have to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray and watch to my heart's content. :)

Anyway, on to what I thought of the movie:

The landscape was absolutely stunning. All that broad expanse of desert with the beautiful rocky outcroppings, the quaint little town that housed the police station and hotel, and the clear blue sky that went on for miles and miles..... wow, just beautiful. The cinematographer captured it perfectly. I really liked having an occasional little flutter of things in the right side of the screen while the main action was happening elsewhere. It kept me on my toes and reminded me that I need to pay close attention to everything that's happening (which paid off the second time I watched the movie, when I noticed those other little details that I had missed the first time) because it's all related and important.

I loved that there was no dialogue in the first several minutes of the movie; that the story unfolded through action alone. It's a fantastic storytelling technique, and it drew me in right away. I noticed that the film overall was very quiet, as compared to American films that have musical scores pervading every second of every moment, guiding viewers toward whatever emotion we're "supposed to" feel in each scene. With its creative use of silence, Swerve struck me as a "thinking" film, one that doesn't just hand the audience a canned experience but encourages viewers to really immerse ourselves in the story and get lost in it. I have to tell you, I was on the edge of my seat throughout parts of the film fighting the urge to talk to the characters or shout at them or warn them. My ideal movie-going experience!

The initial crash, with its tumbling car and the windshield blowing out was absolutely awesome -- I literally jumped the first time that car came careening toward the audience -- and the chase scene culminating in the train sequence was so adrenalin-packed I totally forgot about the popcorn I was holding.

The characters were well written and well acted. I could really see the struggles that Colin went through as he kept trying to do the right thing but ended up stumbling along the way (whether through being used by Jina or through his own weakness, given each situation). Jina was so well done that I really found myself disliking and distrusting her, and was glad she got her comeuppance in the end. I felt the anguish and betrayal that the policeman felt at the hands of his wife, and I saw the reasons for his manic actions (not that I condone them, I just understood where he was coming from). I was blindsided by the bartender (kudos to the writers for that!) and I couldn't get myself to like the blonde guy that was following the money -- which was probably the intent, hmm?

I loved this movie. Have I said that already? I'm sad that it didn't get the publicity it deserved, which resulted in such miserable box office numbers (in San Diego, anyway -- I hope it fared far better in the other cities in which it premiered). I really think this film needed to be better promoted here in the States before it opened, especially since it was opening in so few theaters. I only stumbled upon it by chance one day, and even when I looked for trailers and news about showings I was hard pressed to find very much. I hope that experience was isolated to San Diego and that the other cities marketed the showings enough and created enough of a buzz that they got the numbers needed to bring Swerve to more theaters here in the US.

Quick note: There is a great deal of profanity in this movie. I mention this in case viewers are language-sensitive. There is also one instance of semi-nudity, with the female lead being briefly seen topless through the water of the swimming pool.
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Underachieving Neo-Noir from Down Under
LeonLouisRicci7 September 2014
Another Neo-Noir, this One from Austrailia, in the Tradition of John Dahl's Red Rock West (1993) and Oliver Stone's U-Turn (1997). Throw in a Little Coen Brothers and a Dash of Everything Else Ever in this Type of Thing and You have a Watered Down Version of Some Very Good and Entertaining Films in the Neo-Noir Genre.

Unfortunately this is Nothing New and so Irritatingly Nothing New and that Keeps it from Becoming Remarkable. It isn't Bad its just a Bit Wearisome and Not that Well Crafted. There are Some Glaring Edits and Transitions that are Head Scratchers and Confusing. The Gist is that They just don't Make Any Logical Sense.

The Appearance of a Formerly Beat Up Car, looking Raring and Ready to Go and the Jarring Scene where Our "Victim" of the Femme Fatale is Shown One Minute in a Watery Well and the Next is in Some Subterranean Situation of Tunnels and a Surprise.

It is Worth a Watch for Some Striking Cinematography and a Quirky Score and the Thing Moves Along at a Pounding Pace. There is Fun to be had here if the Thinking Cap is Removed and the Popcorn is Buttery, but there isn't Much Style and the Inclusion of the Marching Bands as Something Edgy is More Corny than Cool.
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Usual Aussie lack of a solid simple story.
Tangent-647-1201717 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Why oh why is it always the script that's the weakest link in Aussie movies? Swerve could have been good. It looks like a real movie, but it descends into the usual Aussie weirdness where the script was too self absorbed and it all goes to crap. It had promise, it had a certain polish while keeping that Aussie grittiness that Australian movies do so well. Great scenery, some solid acting, (although some scenes like "WTF are they on now?") Usual good cinematography and some quirky locations, but as usual it disappears up its own arse. What did the publican mumble at the end? I didn't care, I was just glad it was over. I will never want to watch it again to find out.
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Slow start, insipid progress, over-sophisticated solution
Bene Cumb7 December 2013
Apparently, Australian director and screenwriter Craig Lahiff wanted to create a "cool" thriller in the British style, but the result leaves to be desired. Even with duration less than 1 hour 20 minutes, there are long shots with riding cars and without text, the cast is not catchy, logic of twists and turns is difficult to follow, fighting/chasing scenes are arid, some supporting characters (e.g. Vince Colosimo's) are ungrounded, providing no additional value. Thus, the events do not run smoothly, and the outcome is just-another-felony-film probably suitable for killing time with popcorn rather than memorable film experience. Thanks to shortness, however, Swerve does not become boring, leading to a versatile, yet ambivalent ending.

But as for films coming from the Commonwealth of Nations, however, Australian ones are still much better than Canadian or Indian ones...
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Classic Aussie Crime Flick Part 2
sydneyswesternsuburbs31 December 2016
Director and writer Craig Lahiff who also created another classic flick, Heavens Burning 19997 has created another gem in Swerve which is a remake of his other classic Aussie crime flick, Fever 1988.

Starring Jason Clarke who has also starred in other classic flicks, Everest 2015, Terminator Genisys 2015, White House Down 2013, Zero Dark Thirty 2012, Death Race 2008, Rabbit-Proof Fence 2002, Better than Sex 2000 and Praise 1998.

Also starring Emma Booth who has also starred in another classic flick, Tracks 2013 and a season of the classic Aussie TV series, Underbelly 2008-2013.

Also starring David Lyons who has also starred in another classic flick, Storm Warning 2007.

Also starring Vince Colosimo who has also starred in other classic Aussie crime flicks, Chopper 2000 and The Hard Word 2002 and other classic flicks, Daybreakers 2009, Body of Lies 2008, Scorched 2008 and other classic TV series, Fat Tony & Co 2014, Spartacus: War of the Damned 2013 and a season of Underbelly 2008-2013.

I enjoyed the Australian outback scenery.

If you enjoyed this as much as I did, then check out other classic Aussie Crime flicks, Animal Kingdom 2010, The Snowtown Murders 2011, Restraint 2008, Kiss or Kill 1997, The Square 2008, Storage 2009, Idiot Box 1996, Son of a Gun 2014, The Line 2007, Dragon Flies 1975, Small Crimes 2017 and Cut Snake 2014.
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