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Great pacing - enjoyable movie
mformoviesandmore27 December 2014
This is a 'heist' movie with a fairly standard story and the usual range of characters and events.

One little difference is that it is set in Australia.

But one large difference is the pacing of the movie. It never gets bogged down and it never goes OTT - so we don't see people flying through the air, in slow motion, shooting two guns at once.

The acting is of a level where it well represents the sort of randomness found in such characters as well as offering up a hero for the audience to follow.

If you want a fun action movie with enough of a story to follow and which moves along and keeps the interest up - this one is for you, my son.
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Australia's heading in the right direction.
bunshin15 October 2014
This film gave me shivers and not just because of the intense first act which sees us locked in a prison with some pretty ruthless men but because I regained hope for a flailing Australian film industry. I feel obliged to support my industry so often I go to the cinema reluctantly and am thoroughly disappointed by the lack of respect for the audience the filmmakers have, they believe first and foremost they must get their unworthy stories on screen and then I'm left out of pocket and dissatisfied. This time was a different story, Son of a Gun has given us a MOVIE!!! Finally, an actual movie which I could disengage and go on a ride with the characters. This isn't trying to be a groundbreaking heist film and yet it is groundbreaking for Australia, it is so well made, performances are stellar and the score is epic. We have space for our kitchen sink dramas but we also should make way for these type of films and also judge it as an Australian film. That's why I gave it 10 out of 10 because this film should be judged like all other Australian films are judged and not judged harshly because it has a big star and feels like a bigger story. I highly recommend this film.
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Violent but good-hearted villains
jpgonc18 February 2015
Movie packed with a little scent of action-drama of the 1970s. This Australian movie gets better as it is unfolded.

Good acting, good photography and a brief dose of humanity and thriving. Even if the script is nothing out of the normal, the film itself shows us a fast-driven story of convicted criminals trying to live under a small "mafia" organization - Love, lust, betrayal, death and commiseration will be the ingredients to cook up this story.

PS-> Don't watch the trailer because it sucks and deviates you from seeing a good movie. (I avoided myself from viewing trailers years ago for any movie) - They are simple a pure commercial beacon that use the best scenes as a vehicle of opportunism to forge you into seeing something that ultimately it does not translate into what you are expecting.
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Not conceptual, but certainly not bad
BeneCumb11 January 2015
Films depicting prison environments and heists tend to consist of recurrent topics and scenes, and the quality depends on how the viewers perceive them - as clichés or as characteristics. Luckily, Son of a Gun does with the latter, and skillful direction, several twists and versatile ending make this an okay film, where one can not always guess how the things go or what happens next, and all this is carried out without ridiculous shifts.

The cast is international, from a Scot till a Swede, plus locals, of course, and this provides the film with additional value (although the events take place in Australia only). Ewan McGregor as Brendan Lynch is certainly the best of them, outperforming the other main character - JR (performed by a local heartthrob Brenton Thwaites whose apparent intention was showing his torso as much as possible :)); the latter's relationship with Tasha (nicely performed by Alice Vikander) is a perfunctory link at times - although the pre-ending rounds it up again...

But anyway, if you like intense heist films with witty solutions, Son of a Gun is definitely for you.
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Nothing new or original, but not bad flick at all
8512223 January 2015
Greetings from Lithuania.

"Son of a Gun" (2014) is kinda average crime thriller. It shows nothing original, nothing new or anything special, yet i watched the whole movie and wasn't disappointed or bored. The performances are OK, nothing special or worth mentioning. The plot is not bad - "Son of a Gun" starts like a prison drama, but then it goes beyond that, but not in a highly new territory.

"Son of a Gun" is a nice movie for seeing it once, after, you will forget it kinda quickly. Worth mentioning nice soundtrack at the end of the movie, will going to definitely check it out who was the singer.

Overall, "Son of a Gun" is not a bad crime / action / thriller for one viewing. It doesn't show nothing original in craftsmanship of the movie, nor the plot is very original, yet if you like the genre, you can check this one out for yourself - it will do it's job for one boring evening.
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Tense and polished.
bee_fly_bee16 October 2014
There's a lot of pressure on debuts for filmmakers and I think they can often take the route of keeping it small and contained to lessen all the things that can go so terribly wrong but this director has taken the opposite route and I think while it's far from perfect it is a killer debut that will set him up as a talent to watch for sure.

Ewan Mcgregor is probably the sexiest I have ever seen him, playing the bad boy and the young lead is extremely handsome and does a great job next to such a big star.

The film has lots of twists and a love story, all the things you expect and want in this genre and the location is really exciting and fresh, this is not set in a casino, it is set in a gold mine in desert... doesn't get any more Australian than that.
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Not the best Aussie Film I've Seen...
MovieHoliks20 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
When I first started this crime picture, having heard it was about this crime lord mentoring another young man in prison, I automatically assumed Ewan McGregor was the young man in question- but he's actually the older crime lord. LOL Goes to show he's evolving into more mature roles these days.

I'm a big fan of Australian cinema, and really wanted to like this movie. I think I liked the first part of the film, set in prison, the best. I remember thinking- WOW- them Aussie prisons are sure a lot fancier than our American prisons! LOL But then once the film gets out into the free world, and turns into an action movie pitting the young guy against McGregor, it lost me- just becomes another shoot 'em up picture. If you want to see a much better Australian crime picture, I suggest the film, "Little Fish" (with Kate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving & Sam Neill) instead.
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Yet -another- solid debut from an Aussie director in 2014!!
punishable-by-death18 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Chess is an endlessly intriguing game, both to play, to watch, and even to read about. Perhaps the greatest achievement from debut feature-director Julius Avery (who has had much success at Cannes with his short films, not to mention having worked closely with cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, who not only shot Aussie thrillers ANIMAL KINGDOM and SNOWTOWN, but also recently shot the acclaimed TRUE DETECTIVE television series), apart from the impressively massive scope of this thrilling ride, are the subtleties of the film. What is even better is that some of these subtle shots prove to be extremely relevant, while others seamlessly fit into the film but aren't particularly relevant overall. For example, a close-up shot of a chess piece, naturally a King, lying on its side. To some this may say nothing, but in this film it really is the epitome of the old saying that a picture can say many words. What makes this particular shot memorable is the fact that almost all of this movie can be seen as a sweeping allegory alluding to a competitive and unpredictable game of chess played by two very skilled players. To say that this is yet more extremely impressive debut work from another up-and-coming Australian director would be a vast understatement. This film seems to have it all: tension that will not let up, characters that will keep you guessing until those credits roll, not to mention some incredible action sequences that put most Hollywood blockbusters to shame, and a dark, heavy plot that unfolds with just the right pace, the perfect amount of twists, along with the perfect amount of heart. This here is one memorable film, and I can't help but be proud of my fellow countryman for offering up a feast of a movie that yet again rivals the best that the rest of the world has to offer.

We are introduced to young JR during the opening minutes, who is serving time for a minor offense. The emotion on his face is not only impeccable, it is real - the prison scenes of this movie were actually shot in a prison, with real inmates a part of the background.

Despite barely being an adult at 19, JR has attitude, and takes it upon himself to act out when he witnesses what is happening to his cell-mate of only a few days. But this is prison, and every action has its consequence - much like every move made in a game of chess. It is the game of chess that introduces JR to hardened criminal Brendan (Ewan McGregor in one of his best roles to date); JR boldly proclaiming that Brendan is three moves away from checkmate. After proving himself to be on the ball, Brendan takes interest.

When JR's attempt to help his cell-mate leads to him being the new target, he is offered protection by Brendan's 'crew'. He is offered what is essentially a deal with the devil. Protection, for a price that he has no idea about. Before he can decide, his mind is made up for him when he is attacked and promptly saved by Brendan and co. in savage fashion. What must be noted here is the camera-work during these fisticuffs: avoiding the pitfalls of too many action movies to count: the action is filmed without the camera jerking and moving all over the place, while also using a minimal amount of shots; avoiding the Hollywood standard of cramming as many different shots into an action scene as possible. The result of this is that each blow, each punch, each gunshot hits you squarely in the gut, jumping off the screen in its ferocity. Suddenly, JR is in another very different type of prison.

This protection obviously affects JR, an orphan who perhaps unwittingly is desperate for a father figure of any sort. Brendan's complete trust in JR, as well as his defense of him as the rest of the crew don't take such a shining to him, further entrenches these fatherly feelings. As the film progresses however, it becomes clear that there is mistrust within the group. How much exactly, and what will result in this mistrust, is one of the many elements of tension that this movie provides. In addition to this, despite Brendan's constant defense and protection of JR, we can't help but wonder what his true intentions are. He seems to like JR, but doesn't trust him as far as he could throw him, and the rest of the crew aren't his biggest fans either.

What ensues during the organised heist - the deal that JR didn't actually agree to - and its aftermath, is again akin to a mental game of chess. Each character holds their cards close. It becomes evident that there are many secrets hidden, but how many, and whether these will affect JR is another fantastic element of tension. Each move that JR and Brendan make is calculated thoroughly, both being skilled chess-players after all, and it becomes wonderfully immersive as we wonder: Will JR become food for the fishes? Is he a target of Brendan, despite all that he has done for JR? Is he safe? More importantly, is there anyone that he can truly trust? It quickly becomes apparent that JR is once again imprisoned, perhaps check-mated. He can't leave. JR's thoughts begin to spiral, particularly about Brendan and his true intentions. Will he simply let JR go after their heist? Or is there some sort of catch? Again, more mental chess-playing ensues, as each character progressively takes the other's pieces to move further towards their goal of check-mate.

This polished thriller will fill you with tension until the final scene, as finally our many questions are answered, and the mental game of chess between Brendan and JR finally ends. The winner? You will be guessing and changing your mind more than once, I assure you. An incredibly polished, thrilling movie by a debut feature-filmmaker. Bravo sir.
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Great film
tommcdonald24216 October 2014
I loved this film. The direction reminded me of Jean Pierre Melville, the grand master of french crime films. It had a tight front story which gave little away. The back story (search for an honest father figure/young man relationship) was solid, but subtle. The sound was absolutely realistic. When a gun goes off in a room, it is so loud, it dominates the consciousness of all those in it. The film hit that mark, unlike a lot of movies that aren't realistic. It was great to see JR recoil from such noise and violence as he did, as most people would do. the violence in prison was visceral but realistic. It could be described as hyper realistic but it's a bloody jail, so it's a rough place.

Editing was excellent, direction was superb and Brenton Thwaites gave more of himself to his role than any other movie I've seen him in. Ewan was outstanding as was Damon Herriman. The film was tough, hard nosed but well constructed and balanced.
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Unexpectedly good
virtue_srb9 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I just want to clarify the rating, 8 is well above average movie for me. It's worth having in your movie collection, along with classics of the genre.

I really wasn't expecting much from this one, but it turned out to be a surprise, and a good one too. I loved the action scenes where you can actually see the direction where character is shooting as well as damage being done by shots, I think this is extremely important for any serious action movie, but strangely a lot of action flicks fail at this. Whole cast did they job flawlessly, they are serious, tough criminals, there are no silly jokes, or something that would mellow down their characters (which is way too often in action movies today I must add), I loved it. Tashas accent was a bit too strong, but I guess it's a minor mistake. The romance part could have been a bit different, Tasha could be the one falling in love and wanting to get away with him, and he could be the one not being sure about it, but eventually going for runaway with her, I think that would hit the spot even better than this one. One glitch, I get the monkey metaphor in the movie, but I really think that if you want to crowd control people falling from the ceiling, you ought to pick some better mask than an ape one. I wish there was more action in urban setting but hey, maybe in next movie. The ending was (bitter) sweet.

Son of a Gun restored my hope for true old school serious-to-the- bone action movies, and I think this is the direction which action movie directors ought to follow, this is what real action movies are about,thumbs up for Aussies.
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Ewan McGregor Steals The Show
SadnessNeverGoes1 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Son Of A Gun 2014 is a decent Australian flick much better & not like the most usual ones we see these days.

The pace is slow but the project is effective enough to keep you hooked the plus points are realistic action scenes specially the firing scenes during car chase sequences & one i loved was when Brendan & Jr burn the vehicle then push it over the mountain this particular scene was amazingly shot by director Julius Avery.

The cast includes Brenton Thwaites,Alicia Vikander & one man simply overshadowed everyone with his performance the name is Ewan Mcgregor this guy just nails it i am a long time fan of Ewan ever since i saw him in the island directed by Michael Bay.

The story goes as a young guy named Jr goes to jail there he meets famous criminal Brendan Lynch they become friends soon but when Jr gets released as told he helps Brendan escape the prison after some time Brendon likes it & gets Jr in his team for the next biggest gold heist everything goes according to plan but when other bad guys & cops are on their trail the relationship between Jr & Brendan goes bad.

Tasha just gets a beating of a life time she gets abused hard the thug strangles her in the room,& Brendan is nuts goes berserk most of the times this is not the new type of film i mean its not something that we all have no seen before but the execution here is way different the genre shift is quite exiting to watch you don't know whats going to happen next i felt i am watching a totally weird movie like monkey mask wearing guys doing crime,then out of no where some comedy comes & it goes again on a serious suspense mode but in the last i loved it when there is no guns shooting between the characters it is just Brendan gets tricked by Jr & Tasha on the boat there is no gold.

It does have a feel of a below average direct home release movie but once the movie ends it feels like a complete theatrical cult film,it should be loved for what it is i personally feel critical reception just kills it this product is for audience only.

Overall Son of A Gun 2014 is a nice film to see just don't expect anything typical Hollywood style from it the highlight is the acting department here a well done job from the whole team my rating is 5/10.Recommended
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One of those 'brain in neutral' films...
euroGary15 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Right, let's do a quick rundown: Lots of gunfights? Check. Unshaven men who say "f***" a lot? Check. Double-crosses? Check. Tart with a heart - also the only main female character? Check. That's right - 'Son of a Gun' is your typical gangster thriller, only it's set in Australia - so that's something unusual, then.

Sporting an embarrassing teenage beard, young criminal 'JR' (the well-muscled Brenton Thwaites) arrives at prison for his first spell inside. He soon attracts the attention of the prison rapists, but once old lag Brendan (Ewan McGregor) lets it be known JR is under his protection, the bullies leave him alone (possibly repulsed by McGregor's horrendous goatee, although being thrown off the balcony probably had something to do with it too). Once back on the outside, JR quickly becomes part of Brendan's plans for a gold heist. But can Brendan be trusted, even after he shaves off the goatee?

So, nothing original. Plot points are telegraphed well in advance - for instance, once it is revealed that JR cannot swim (I thought all Australians were *born* knowing how to swim?), you may think you know which element will be involved in the denouement, and you'll be right. Thwaites makes a personable and sexy hero (although he could have tried to look a bit less bewildered some of the time). McGregor plays the role of dodgy father-figure as well as anyone else who's ever played it. Watch with your brain in neutral, and enjoy the ride.
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Could have been a classic!! Spoilers Alert
mrodowd14 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Disappointing for me. This movie had the makings of a classic only for the childish love story that takes over and smothers a Point Break style action bonanza. Could have been a classic!! Ewan Mcgregor was a convincing robber/good/bad guy and I would like to see him take grittier roles in the future. The young buck that the movie revolves around was convincing and an interesting character until he got caught up in an overly predictable love story. The Start was gripping but quickly starts going downhill. Who is the writer trying to impress exactly? Started a lads movie and ended a chick flick. The young dude has potential and I am sure we will see him again.
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Great Australian Film
Matthew-WH28 December 2014
I watched this movie because i'm a big fan of Brenton Thwaites and think he is super attractive. However after the first five minutes i found myself very interested in the film and from there on i was taken on a very exciting ride with twists and turns and it turned out to be a great film.

Even if Brenton Thwaites wasn't insanely good looking this movie really stood on its own. Australia can produce great films as well as show casing brilliant actors. Son Of A Gun was a great example of just how established our film industry is becoming and that we can create quality films. Ewan Mcgregor was such a surprise. My only memory of one of his performances is in Moulin Rouge where he plays quite a weak and softly spoken character. So the contrast from that character to the character in this film are opposite worlds and he nailed it. I was very impressed with his performance.

Alicia Vikander player her role very well and am very glad she took part in this movie. I really cared about Tasha (Vikander) and JR (Thwaites) which is always a good connection to make with an audience. I wanted the best for these characters. This movie had many dimensions. It has a bit of romance, drama, violence, twists and turns. It can connect with a wide audience as their is a little something for everyone. I really enjoyed watching Son Of a Gun and do highly recommend watching it.
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A lot of promise with no payoff
arthra12 January 2015
Son of a Gun's most fatal flaw is that for the first fifteen minutes the movie is so promising and expectations are built so high that every subsequent scene feels more and more like a slap in the face. The prison scenes are without a doubt the gem to be found in this movie, and I wish that the movie had ended there. Unfortunately, a bigger plot is required to fit the running time, and so, things start their nose dive into tedium and cringe-worthy dialogue.

A useless love interest used only as a plot device for 2 points in the movie (that could have been handled so much better) is thrown our way the moment we're out of prison and is, without a doubt, the worst part of the film. Characters are introduced, developed and dumped just as suddenly as they appeared without trying to explain what happened to them. The further in the movie goes, the more scenes move fluidly into each other without giving weight to anything that is said or done. By the end, I felt like the director had suddenly realised how much time he had wasted with the elongated romance scenes and provided a storyboard of ideas for what should happen next, expecting the audience to come up with all the juicy, tense or action packed scenes that should have happened in between. Perhaps a series was intended to explain the greater significance and links of all the picked up and dropped characters, such as the woman the mob is supporting for election.

There are a few scenes to watch out for once the 'plot' gets going. A scene where JR is sitting in front of the safe house holding a water pistol is a nice, silent scene which seems to have accidentally spilled over from a more symbolic, slow boiling movie following a young kid getting involved with some serious robbers – such as Animal Kingdom. The start of the robbery also gives a few treats, if only there wasn't a requirement to sit through everything before and after.

Ewan McGregor as Brendan provides a solid performance until he finds himself floundering in the water, where his character's actions seem unfounded by the scenes that proceeded it. Brenton Thwaites is admirable for his attempts to pull off JR, however, handicapped with tacky dialogue, particularly any time Alicia Vikander's Tasha appears, he ends up looking like the kid criminal that belongs in a daytime soap opera. The supporting cast of crooks varies from acceptable to good, with a particular nod to Matt Nable as Brendan's partner in crime, Sterlo. However, something is desperately wrong with our main character, Tasha, when the blink and you miss them performances of Damon Herriman and Mick Innes provide more interesting and endearing characters.

So much more could have been done with this movie, starting with removing the love interest and ending with giving the audience any form of catharsis for any scene in the final half hour. All the stars I can give this movie are for the spellbinding opening and a few swell performances. Perhaps in a few more years Julius Avery will provide us with a tight (action) thriller possessing all the greatness that he teased us with in Son of a Gun.
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The first half is OK, but it soon wears out its welcome and starts to become tiresome
jimbo-53-1865118 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
JR (Brenton Thwaites) is serving a short prison sentence and does his best to keep his head down. JR soon draws his attention to prison heavyweight Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor) when the two men are drawn together through their love of chess. Brendan takes it upon himself to look after JR and whilst JR believes that Brendan is doing this out of the goodness of his heart it soon transpires that Brendan has big plans for JR on the outside and needs to get him on side in order to assist in orchestrating a prison breakout for Brendan and his gang. Brendan's plans for JR don't stop there and he's also intent on including Brendan in his plans to rob some gold.

The first half of this film is where the picture is at its strongest; it essentially introduces a young man who's wet behind the ears to a seasoned criminal who essentially runs the show and knows the inner workings of the prison system. This sets up an interesting dynamic at the start, but ultimately becomes one that seems to become lost as the film progresses. Whilst I'm prepared to accept that the opening 30 minutes or so are both brutal and engaging and clearly exist to establish the relationship between JR and Lynch there seemed to be far too much time spent on setting up the narrative at the expense of both storytelling and moving the narrative forward.

It's actually sad really when the only thing that's really established once the men break out of prison is that one of the inmates is a rapist which results in that inmate getting the obligatory kick-in. It's yet another prison cliché and is a poor plot twist that just adds to the many groan factors that seems to be increasingly on offer here.

The problem with this film is that it spends a lot of time setting up its story but then fails to provide an adequate pay-off once the story has been established. There is about 5-10 minutes of time showing the heist and then the rest of the time is spent exploring the aftermath - such as twists like the boss' nephew getting killed and a lame twist at the end involving the switching of briefcases.

To be honest I come in to heist films expecting the story to be full of holes but when watching a heist film I do expect them to be at least fun or exciting. Son of a gun delivers none of these things and is far too dull and serious to be truly enjoyable. Anyone expecting an Oceans 11 type film is going to be deeply disappointed.

The only thing really saving this forgettable and dull heist film are the performances; McGregor is very good here and this is probably the best I've seen from him in a long time. Thwaites is OK but is clearly playing second fiddle to a lot of the cast. Vikander is also good here even though she only really exists as a clichéd love interest - but she does look as gorgeous as always.

Despite a strong first half, Son Of A Gun never recovers and just becomes more boring and more tiresome as it trundles along. In truth it's dull and rather forgettable.
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Ewan McGregor not at his best
n-kefala21 September 2015
Nice movie in general, with action, and good performances from all the actors, but something makes "Son of a gun" a boring film. I don't know what is exactly, maybe because the story is something that you have seen many times before in the past. Or maybe because the action it flows very slow. Moreover, the direction is not good enough to put this film in the category of "excellent heist movies". The romance on "Son of a gun" makes it a little more interesting and in combination with the presence of Ewan McGregor -who is not at his best, unfortunately- is a movie that, I think, worth your time even if you are bored at the end.
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A promising title, ruined by a pathetic love story.
obatard14 March 2015
Well, to be true I won't spend a lot of time writing about such a movie.

At the beginning it's quite good, an interesting thriller with strong character, Ewan Mc Gregor is really good !

But here comes the cheap love story ... The sensitive bad guy fall in love with a trapped woman ... So naive and pathetic.

This movie is just an example of what is bad in movies actually, archetypes. What is wrong is you ? Why do we have to endure a lame love story ? Crime ain't love !

Some directors must learn what is thriller and what is real life. Here we have some pretentious psychological movie, but in reality it is just an example of stupidity.
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Like a 70's heist movie, well acted, but ultimately boring
siderite3 January 2015
I have to mark this as a failure, as I thought at the end that if I would have paid to see it I would have gotten angry. That doesn't mean it's a bad movie. It is well acted and the mood of it is kind of what it should have been. However the slightly outdated plot and lack of any notable surprises or character development makes it a pointless film. Also, a personal gripe of mine, it is a movie written and directed by the same guy, so there was no one relevant to point out that the script is boring as hell.

It felt like someone found a script of a movie from the 70's that was not translated to a film and decided to make it with some of the actors that caught the eye lately, like McGregor, Thwaites and Vikander and who had a little time on their hands.
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Lots of Promise...
cactus130513 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The movie was carried largely by Ewan McGregor's great on screen presence, with Brenton Thwaites a little dopey but still managing to be engaging.

I thought it tried to be too many things at the same time; one part action/violence, one part (what I thought was wholly unnecessary) teenage romance, and the music similarly varied from trance to strange melodic ballads, which was a little disjointed. The movie could have gone a lot darker; more focus on EM's increasing paranoia and distrust perhaps.

The ending was a bit too neat; after all the violence perpetuated during the movie, one would have thought that the character wouldn't be quite so willing to capitulate. Perhaps a little bit of torture from EM and he would have revealed the mystery quickly, especially since he was never set up to be the macho guy. After all, isn't the point in the movie "all or nothing"?

Still, it's fantastic to see upcoming Aussie actors in film, and even more fantastic to see Perth and Kalgoorlie used as the setting for a movie. It fell a little short of its potential but was entirely watchable and entertaining.
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Son Of a Bore..
BatmanFunReviews20188 March 2018
JR busts out of prison with Brendan Lynch, Australia's most notorious criminal, and joins Lynch's gang for a gold heist that soon pits the two men against one another. Son Of a Gun has a talented and well known Cast but the film's narrative and it's script are terrible when on the same time the characters that we're supposed to care about are boring as hell. (0/10)
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Nothing all that original or exciting but seeing Ewan McGregor in a role like this is the reason to give it a shot.
cosmo_tiger16 March 2015
"Never trust a criminal, check mate." JR (Thwaites) is in jail for a minor offense and quickly learns the harshness of his new home. After befriending notorious criminal Brendan (McGregor) he realizes he's in too deep. After he is released he helps Brendan break out of prison and takes part in a gold heist. Then things begin to get messy. First of all this isn't a bad movie, its just not all that original. The movie did have some really tense and exciting aspects to it but it seemed dull and uninspired at times. I was not expecting something amazing from this but I really started to lose interest a few times and by the end I was just glad it was finally over. There were enough twists to make me keep watching but they were pretty predictable. Overall, nothing all that original or exciting but seeing Ewan McGregor in a role like this is the reason to give it a shot. I give it a C.
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Appropriately visceral, purposely cast and staged with memorable action sequences.
Likes_Ninjas9015 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Son of a Gun, the first Australian feature film by Julius Avery, is trashy, sometimes unwatchable due its violence and underwritten in parts but also appropriately visceral, purposely cast and staged with memorable action sequences. The film isn't concerned by plot. It recycles narratives collected from past genre films. It is firstly a prison film where a young man named JR (Home and Away and The Giver's Brenton Thwaites) is protected from the vicious attacks of inmates by fellow criminal Brendan (Ewan McGregor). These gaol scenes, shot in a real prison, are extremely intense due to an eerie, whispery music score and tight framing. Thwaites is twenty-five but looks young for his age, adding fear when he is surrounded by heavyweight thugs. The close-ups allow him to act silently, relying on his eyes. JR remains aware of the danger closing in on him but is powerless. As Brendan, Ewan McGregor is also a strong acquisition. He is one of the most diverse actors in the industry and knows how to be intimidating but also injects black humour into his role. Both actors do well to enhance their characters because Avery's own script is short on context and the dialogue resorts mostly to cursing. There is no backstory for JR, aside from hints of an abusive father and his motive like wanting a family feels sketchy and underdeveloped. We aren't told why he is in a maximum security prison either, a sizeable plot hole considering he is released after six months. Also, how was Brendan certain JR wouldn't disappear once on the outside with money and a gun, and instructed to prepare the breakout? Regardless, the way JR aids Brendan's escape, using a helicopter, is well-staged and I thought it was plausible since a similar escapade was performed in real life a few years ago.

Following the escape, the film borrows another worn crime trope: the small time thug in love with the boss's girl. JR falls for an immigrant named Tasha (Alicia Vikander). She works as a waitress in a strip club and she says only sticks around because she makes the crime boss, another man working with Brendan, look good. Who is using who is an idea expressed loudly through transparent symbols like a chess games and lines like "things are not what you imagine". These illusions are instrumental in the second part of the film which structures itself around an elaborate heist, this time stealing gold bars from a mining company. The set piece takes inspiration from video games like Grand Theft Auto V, and is sharply orchestrated and intense, particularly with the combat involving a mixture of vehicles and firearms. You are not supposed to ask these questions with a film of this kind, but I had to wonder how hot a newly formed gold bar would be if they're melted down in front of you. After the second heist, the film runs out of steam. Considering how much is already pinched, it's not a surprise when there is a betrayal following the heist and these types of gangster films, specifically the ones from early Hollywood would only run for as long as eighty or ninety minutes, instead of under two hours. Some smaller scenes at the backend are also poorly staged, including some bad disguises at an airport. Meanwhile, there is a morally questionable ending where a major character escapes judgement far too lightly and dilutes any meaning the film might have about father figures. Avery could have dug deeper with this central male relationship because he says it is inspired by a bad influence in his own life. But Son of a Gun is a guilty pleasure rather than a character study. It is trash but at least it is a well-made kind of trash.
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Excellent first film
jussy0116 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I have followed this director's work for some time. Julius Avery has consistent themes to his work, the search for a father figure, bullying and the search for honesty in relationships. This film combines all three and puts them in a heist movie genre. It was a tough film, uncompromising and it made the lead actors stretch for every piece of screen real estate in the film. The scenes of Perth, Australia were utterly realistic. it is a dump of a city with a crass veneer, like a mangy dog with a gold tooth.

The robbery scenes were very well done. The payback scene was totally unexpected and the outcome unpredictable. Without giving things away, in most heist movies the heroes die or get ripped off, the cops always win in the end. This is not like most heist movies. The film was very uncompromising in its prison scenes, rape, murder, ultra-violence, all the nastiness of life inside a jail for long term prisoners with the poor few with short sentences who end up there nonetheless.

This movie spoke to me in a way I've not experienced in many years of going to the movies. I recommend everyone looking for honest entertainment and value for money, capped by an excellent story and superb acting should see it. But buy the big popcorn, otherwise you will eat your fingernails.
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Confusing and not engaging
Gordon-114 January 2015
This film tell the story of a young man who is good at chess, getting accepted by a criminal gang inside the prison. They go out to do more jobs after breaking out of prison.

"Son of a Gun" has a big actor in it, and that's why I watched it. I found the plot meandering all the time, and the goals of the actors are poorly explained. I had no idea what the characters want to achieve when they do something, and I only find out after the effect has happened. That's poor story telling and poor engagement. I just didn't care for any of the characters. I found it disappointing and confusing. Fortunately the ending scenes were quite good, saving the film from being a complete disaster.
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