It was a pleasure to attend the premiere of Australia’s newest film, Blame.
The Australian film industry has been accused over many years of green lighting films that “no one wants to see”. It is noteworthy therefore that a greater batch of Aussie films in recent years demonstrate that a film’s potential audience is considered at the concept stage and not as an afterthought. Likewise, the limitations of budget were addressed by having a small cast at a fixed location allowing for minimisation of cost without compromising the entertainment of the story, similar in that regard to last year’s Van Diemans Land.
Blame is part of a recent canon of young adult thriller/horror genre films. MIFF alumni The Loved Ones and Acolytes come immediately to mind.
Five former students of music teacher Bernard (Damian de Montemas) visit him at his remote homestead to exact revenge. The students have come straight from the funeral of a class mate who had had a relationship with the teacher and they believe he is responsible for her death.
Their plan is a relatively simple one : force a draught of sleeping pills down his throat in an apparent suicide. The mistakes and errors in judgement begin to mount as the plot develops. Needless to say, their plan doesn’t develop as they anticipated and they are forced to counter obstacles as the plot unfolds.
The script is tight and moves the characters smoothly from one phase to the next. Writer/director Michael Henry spent nine years from idea to screen with the numerous script reviews evident in the quality of the screenplay.
The two female protagonists, Natalie (Sophie Lowe [Blessed]) and Cate (Kestie Morassi) are required to shift their characters points of view as the story unfolds and both convey their change of emotion competently.
The script also delivers the tension and rivalries that exist between the three male leads, Anthony (Ashley Zukerman), Nick (Simon Stone) and John (Mark Leonard Winter) but at no stage is the story held hostage to these male character’s egos. The conclusion too is noteworthy. It allows us to consider the burden of consequence the survivors must carry.
This is a fine effort from first time writer/director Henry. 4 out of 5.