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By Jess Fenton
3rd June 2012

Genre, despite the common misconception, is not a dirty word. Thankfully filmmaker Craig Lahiff (Black & White) seems to agree, hence we have his latest feature, outback-noir ‘Swerve’.

Beginning with a drug and cash exchange just outside the small town of Neverest NSW, which turns into the first of many double crosses, it's the tale of three out of sorts characters: Colin (David Lyons), the out-of-towner on his way to Broken Hill. Jina (Emma Booth), the lonely housewife trying to escape (AKA the femme fatale). And Frank (Jason Clarke) the slightly psychotic local cop caught in the middle. After a spectacular near-miss car crash, Colin and Jina walk away unscathed. However, the third driver dies instantly, leaving behind a suitcase full of cash. Being the good guy that he is, Colin offers help to Jina and also delivers the suitcase to the local police. In doing so, Colin becomes friendly with Frank the cop who also just happens to be Jina’s husband. This sets off a chain of events with everyone’s eyes focused on the money and who can walk away with the loot in one piece.


‘Swerve’ has all the hallmarks of a noir thriller, with the added spice of some seriously dark humour. However what sets this film apart is all these elements have now been planted in the vast, dusty Australian outback. The expansive setting juxtaposes the characters feelings of being trapped in life, and now due to their precarious situation, trapped within this small “no one can hear you scream” town.

Are the dead really dead? Are the bad guys really bad? And can the people you trust really be trusted? Suspicion is the key to this film - in fact, any film of this genre. Lahiff has very intelligently constructed one hell of a fun and thrilling ride, with twist and turns at every corner, expertly polished into submission. The story and its players are laid out beautifully in the first 15 minutes allowing the film to get right into the guts of it, and that’s when the smart, sexy fun times roll.

‘Swerve’ has all the hallmarks of a noir thriller.

Each character has their own motivation and while the film is told in a linear fashion, it’s their past that plays the biggest role, giving each of their stories weight and not simply the quest for superficial riches.

This film, like most Australian releases these days, deserves an audience. So quick! Go see it before some mind-numbing Hollywood babble takes its place. The downside? After last year's ‘Red Dog’ produced such solid efforts to bring people back to the outback after the damage ‘Wolf Creek’ caused, ‘Swerve’ has sent them right back to the beginning.

RELEASE DATE: 07/06/2012
RUN TIME: 01h 26m
CAST: Jason Clarke
Emma Booth
David Lyons
Travis McMahon
Vince Colosimo
Roy Billing
Greg Stone
Chris Haywood
Robert Mammone
Andy Anderson
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