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Australia 1999
Directed by
Jon Hewitt
91 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


The obvious intention here was to make a gritty, no-holds barred account of crooked cops and their unsavoury ways and in this respect Redball succeeds - a less flattering representation of the Victorian Police you're not likely to see. But there's the problem - the lack of texture makes the film less credible whilst the unrelenting dyspepsia makes the film less than appetizing.

The main story centres on a female detective (Belinda McClory) and a 'redball' serial child molester/murderer case (a 'redball' being a high priority stressful case) which has pushed her to the brink of her ability to cope. Around this are woven various stories of bent cops.

Shot on digital video for a relatively small budget the film makes good use of its limited means with plenty of biffo, bolstered by kinetic editing and some punk rock music by cult band, The Meanies. If all this is technically well put together with convincing performances by the cast, McClory in particular impressing, dramatically there is not a lot to sustain. The main axis between Det.Jane and her partner, Robbie, (John Brumpton), is not developed enough with too much attention given over to familiar police corruption stories, the main thread being resolved far too easily and quickly to have impact, not to mention that it is an over-common outcome.

Had writer/director Hewitt trusted more to the dramatic potential in the relationship between the two central characters and relied less on "entertaining" genre elements (including breaking the film into chapters with catchy intertitles) this might have been a stronger film.




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