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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Blame is another strong local production that should appeal to audiences who love tense dramas. This taut new Australian film is a variation of the home invasion thriller, in the vein of Funny Games, Death And The Maiden and The Strangers, etc, but it lacks the rather nasty, relentlessly sadistic edge of Michael Haneke's film. It begins strongly when a group of strangers, dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, burst into the home of music teacher Bernard (Damian de Montemas, from short-lived TV series Cops LAC, etc). They tie him up, and force-feed him an overdose of pills, and then leave him to die. But things do not go according to plan. When the group is forced to return to the scene of the crime to try and locate a crucial piece of evidence left behind they discover Bernard missing. In the frantic pursuit to find him, things begin to go horribly wrong. Dissension begins to tear the group apart and they begin to question their own motives and involvement. As we come to learn more about these individuals, their motivations raise some disturbing questions. It turns out that they blame Bernard for the recent suicide of a young female student whom he allegedly seduced, and they want to exact a poetic vengeance. Sophie Lowe (from Beautiful Kate, etc) brings a frightening intensity to her role as Natalie, the manipulative ring leader of the group, who has her own darker motives for seeking vengeance on Bernard. The rest of the group of vigilantes comprises of Nick (Simon Stone), the group's most strident advocate for violence, the wimpy Anthony (Ashley Zukerman), and Cate (Kestie Morassi), who comes to learn the truth behind their actions. John (Mark Leonard Winter) seems to lack the stomach for direct confrontation and waits outside. Blame has a strong moral tone as it looks at guilt, the consequences of revenge, the dynamics of a group driven by hatred and a thirst for retribution, and how malicious gossip and lies can ruin lives. It also looks at how hormonally driven males will do anything to impress a girl, even when they know what they are doing is wrong. First time writer/director Michael Henry brings plenty of claustrophobic tension to the drama, as most of the action takes place inside the house. The ominous threat of violence that hangs over the film contrasts beautifully with the peaceful rural setting. Filmed in the foothills of Perth, Blame has been beautifully shot by cinematographer Torstein Dyrting (Lockie Leonard, etc). Tamil Rogeon's moody score also heightens the atmosphere. This is a solid debut from Henry, who spent nine years developing his idea. The script is tight and Henry slowly builds the claustrophobic tension, especially in the striking opening scenes in which very little dialogue is uttered. There are a few twists before it's all over that manage to hold the audience's attention, even when the pace slackens off towards the end. Henry overcomes the limitations of his small budget through clever use of locations, and a small but effective cast. The performances of the ensemble cast are good, with Lowe a stand out as the vindictive Natalie. De Montemas also brings a suitably fraught quality to his role as the beleaguered and desperate Bernard. Audiences who were turned off by the vicious undercurrents and confronting nature of the recent Snowtown should find Blame far more accessible and enjoyable.
  • The label psychological thriller gets randomly thrown around whenever a new thriller film with a little slower pace comes up but generally speaking very few has that depth, acting, writing or direction worthy of say, the best films of say Hitchcock, David Mamet etc.

    This film however is a refreshing surprise and quite frankly pretty good, since the genre usually is very predictable. In this film themes like revenge, vengeance and pure vigilante actions are explored to the fullest and makes the viewer slightly unsure who is victim and who is the perpetrator.

    The whole film moves into grey area, and is lacerated with ambiguity and shows us how difficult revenge really can be. Justice at any cost can be quite costly.

    This is ensemble film were every actor does a great job, the script is pretty well written(it has twists and turns but very credible ones), direction is very good and the cinematography is wonderful.

    For those of you who liked Death and the Maiden (1994, House of Games (1987, Blackmail (1929), Shallow Grave (1994) etc, then this film should suit you pretty good. The rest can stay away.
  • daniela-844-786313 September 2010
    This is a sharp and sexy thriller that had an awesome reception in Toronto. Cast is wicked. It's very tense and the music is excellent. Loved it.

    The Hollywood Reporter wrote rightly that it's a 'well-crafted thriller.' There's an excellent review there.

    I highly recommend this if you're into dark thrillers and like something a little more stylish. Also if you just love a good Australian accent- who doesn't?

    I will not give it away but if you get a chance check it out. It's the directors first feature and well done for a first. He scored some very hot actors for the film.
  • This film had no redemptive quality what so ever. I was extremely disappointed with the result. I wanted far more than this film delivered. I suppose that is the gamble one takes with movies. You never know how things are going to end up. This one had great potential, but fell completely flat at the end.

    I was completely engaged in the storyline. I was drawn in by the growing complexity of the situation, and invested in the character's dilemma.

    My mind was actively engaged in plotting out several workable resolutions. There could have been a fantastic conclusion to this film, but the director took the most useless avenue to conclude the story. Movies should leave their audience with hope. This one left me wishing I'd never invested my time with it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The movie started with an interesting plot. However, later it didn't hold water. The guy runs away from the killers to the woods. Why then is he coming back? When one of the vigilantes points a shot gun at the victim, why does the piano teacher stand like a dummy, and even turns his chest to the killer? In such a situation anyone would try to run away, and the chances are that the inexperienced shooter could miss the running target. The primitive stories of betrayal; the crying woman faces without tears; the idiotic postman; the victim who amazingly recovers from all attempts of killing him, after which he runs like an Olympian; the video disk that arrives just on time - all those are the work of amateur movie makers. Watching that movie, I laughed where I supposed to cry. Bad movie, avoid by all means.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was pretty ridiculous. The plot premise was just childishly ludicrous: a bunch of people who barely know each other decide to risk everything and plot a murder together because some teenage slut who likes sleeping with her teachers commits suicide? Nonsensical. And whoever thinks there is actually a genuinely moral dilemma presented here needs to read a little more and acquire a more stable moral compass to destabilize. There is no plausible justification for the murder plot, whether or not you want to read it in terms of vigilante justice or vengeance. The so-called victim whose name the murderers are acting in unambiguously commits suicide (everyone involved knows that) and the circumstances surrounding her suicide is fuzzy at best for most of the plotters even when they hatch their hare-brained murder attempt. It is revealed pretty early in the film that one of the main plotters (Cate) does not have a bleeding clue about the events leading up to the teenager's suicide. And yet she happily decides she knows who to exact "vengeance" on. Absolutely moronic -- there is no ambiguity or "greyness" whatsoever here unless you think it is perfectly acceptable to go around punishing people for crimes you have little knowledge about. That said, this could have at least been entertaining, except for the terrible, amateurish acting. The woman playing the Nat character needs to take speech lessons. The "outbursts" from John would be embarrassing for a 1st year undergraduate drama student. My advice is not to waste your time -- it's got its place in a festival setting, I guess, where poorly-conceived, low- budget thrillers draw snickers from an audience basically paying to watch bad stuff so they can have fun mocking it. But everything has a place these days......But saying this is in the same ballpark as Death and the Maiden? Ouch.
  • Great idea for a story but script fell far short. So much more could have been made of it and the ending was dreadful. So much more could have unfolded. I can't stand movies that end and you are left wondering. It's a story, tell the whole story not three quarters of it and then run the credits! I've got two words.... Shawshank Redemption.....it had an ending! I'm sorry I bothered. I feel cheated.