(director: Heath Davis; screenwriter: Angus Watts; cinematographer: Chris Bland; editor: Romain Mongin; music: Burkhard von Dallwitz; cast: Ben Geurens(Ryan Black), Jessica McNamee (Izzy), Peter Phelps (Sgt. Harvey), Caroline Brazier (Dr. Matheson), Nathaniel Dean (Tyson Black), Steve Le Marquand (Cain), Andy McPhee (Jake Anderson), Justin Rosniak (Benny), Damian Hill (Davo), Alan Dukes (McCrea), Ryan Morgan (Caleb), Kenneth Moraleda (Aristotle Chen), Malcom Kennard (Stan); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Angus Watts; Closereef Productions/Bonsai Films; 2019-Australia)

“This uninspired B film has too many limitations to be more than mildly diverting.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Talented Aussie director Heath Davis (“Broke”/”Book Week”) and writer Angus Watts offer the familiar premise in Australian films for this crime thriller, though it comes with some twists which are frankly unconvincing (like the robbery of a strip club by the film’s good guys).

The small-budget indie feature tells of a visitor returning to the outback who is unable to leave when caught-up in a situation beyond his control. It was shot in Broken Hill (location of Mad Max and many other Aussie iconic films).

The city dwelling successful tech entrepreneur Ryan Black (Ben Geurens) returns to his outback hometown, the fictional run-down mining town of Serenity Crossing, for the funeral of his abusive alcoholic father Stan (Malcom Kennard). He hopes he can get his estranged ex-con brother Tyson (Nathaniel Dean) to leave such a downtrodden place.

But his visit turns sour when the vicious wheelchair bound local drug lord McCrea (Alan Dukes) kidnaps Tyson and holds him for ransom. Ryan learns that his old man owned money to the drug lord, which is the reason for the snatch. The desperate Ryan seeks help from his old flame, the straight-talking single mom Izzy (Jessica McNamee), working as a stripper in a local club, as he must deal with McCrea’s dangerous gang members Davo (Damian Hill) and Cain (Steve Le Marquand) to free his brother.

It’s set in the threatening sun-drenched atmosphere of the place abandoned by industry, it has a capable ensemble cast and sports a gritty pulp-fiction story, but this uninspired B film has too many limitations to be more than mildly diverting.

REVIEWED ON 1/15/2020  GRADE: B-