By Jess Fenton
12th October 2014

JR (Brenton Thwaites) is a 19-year-old criminal we meet as he enters his first day of a six-month stint in a maximum security prison is Western Australia. Despite his criminal background and the fact that he doesn’t say much - next to nothing for the first 15 minutes, and a trait that continues throughout the rest of the film - his protective and caring nature is hard to disguise... as well as his short temper when wronged. Caught in the sights of a group of predatory prisoners, he’s quickly offered the protection of the notorious Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor), but it comes at a price. Once on the outside, JR helps in Brendan’s daring prison break and is brought into the inner circle to participate in a Kalgoorlie gold heist worth millions. With a lot of money at stake, lines become blurred and trust is a luxury no-one can afford.


First time feature film writer and director Julius Avery has created quite the thrilling tale involving a lot of heads, angles, double crosses and intrigue, but at its core is JR and father/mentor figure Brendan, which is where the story finds its purpose and true grounding.

There’s excitement, great action, suspense and even a love story, but in order to get to its ultimate conclusion Avery has put in too many superfluous steps. This leaves plot holes and sees the film deviate from its central relationship and shining moments. However, the fabulous players present great chemistry and just the right amount of suspicion. McGregor leads the way with relative (but fast-tracking) newcomer Thwaites hot on his heels. Their on and off-screen relationship is obvious and enthralling to watch, with McGregor clearing relishing playing such a layered, bipolar and fun character, chaperoning his protégé through the ins and outs of this heist psychological thriller, where it's not just lives that are at stake, but freedom as well.

‘Son of a Gun’ is another notch on Australian cinema’s 2014 belt. This is an exciting and beautiful time for our homegrown film industry, and this offering helps make it that much better.

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