For such a groundbreaking story, Jeff Nichols’ Loving, now available on DVD and Blu-ray, is notable for its silence. Although the quiet solemnity of a sparse script served Nichols well in the case of his other 2016 critical darling, Midnight Special, the historic Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision invalidating laws that prohibited interracial marriage may have required a bit more dramatic build-up. Fortunately, Loving’s two lead actors – Ruth Negga, nominated for an Academy Award for this role, and the chameleon-like Joel Edgerton – elevate the movie through their characters by tenderly tapping into the steady strength that defines their humanity.
Opening Friday, Black Mass centers on Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), an Irish mobster who collaborated with the FBI (John Connolly, played by Joel Edgerton, was his handler) to bring justice to the Italian mob.
Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior) writes and headlines Felony, an Australian police thriller that starts off with a bang only to shoot you in a completely different direction.
We meet Malcolm (Joel Edgerton) as he leads his fellow cops on a drug raid. As they run one way, his instincts veer him to an alternate route. Though he finds the crook, the shootout ends with a bullet ridden Malcolm lying on the ground.
Thankfully, the culprit is caught by the police, and Malcolm’s new best friend is his Kevlar vest. As he slowly composes himself, he walks towards the criminal and punches him sans hesitation.
Malcolm may have abused police procedure, but since the men and women of his squad are a close knit bunch, that impulsive act never makes the report. It’s this above the law attitude which pervades throughout Felony, and when Malcolm accidentally hits an Indian youth who’s riding a bicycle, an altogether different crime emerges.
Detective Carl Summer (Tom Wilkinson, fantastic as always) covers up the incident without hesitation, bending the truth to fit Malcolm’s fabricated story. However, Carl’s wet behind the ears, straight arrow partner Jim (Jai Courtney) gradually realizes Malcolm may not be the Good Samaritan who saved the boy’s life. Jim launches his own investigation into the accident, attempting to right a few wrongs along the way.
Edgerton, who also co-penned The Rover with Animal Kingdom filmmaker David Michod, is not exactly interested in the inner workings of the police procedural. Rather, Felony examines how three men at pivotal points in their life deal with this tragedy (Malcolm was inebriated when he hit the boy). Detective Summer knows his days on the police force are numbered, and his main goals are to catch as many criminals as possible and protect his own, no matter what the consequence.
Summer’s influence temporarily takes hold of Malcolm, who also has a family (Melissa George is his wife) to worry about. When partaking in domestic life, aiming for the greater good may take a back seat to self-preservation, but Malcolm’s all-consuming guilt is more than he can handle.
The world is black and white for Jim. He’s the lone wolf of the squad, believing justice is the only measuring stick. When he gets attached to the boy’s mother, those principles are put to the test.
Felony may draw an audience looking for a testosterone driven cop drama, but an even tougher fight is brimming under the surface. Thanks to slam-bang performances from Edgerton, Courtney (who does some of his best work to date), and Wilkinson, Felony is more than just a preachy drama about morality and compromise.
Don’t expect too much gun play or over the top fisticuffs from the feature. It’s more of a battle of wills among the three cops, and seeing talented actors play their respective chess game is a thrill to watch. Felony’s ending is ambiguous as the day is long, but considering these men are playing for higher stakes, there’s no clear cut winner. But the gamble, if you’re the viewer, should pay off.
Felony (100 minutes) is now playing in select theaters and is available On Demand.
During this week’s interview, I asked Joel Edgerton about the ambiguous ending of Felony. It’s a pretty spoiler-free response, and hopefully you’ll listen to this sound bite after you see the flick.
Perhaps you remember Jai Courtney as John McClane’s equally bad-ass son in A Good Day To Die Hard or, better yet, as the cold blooded mercenary who battles Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher.
In the Australian drama Felony, Courtney is Jim Melic, a by the books police officer who witnesses a subtle form of corruption within his department. A highly respected fellow cop named Malcolm (Joel Edgerton, who penned the script) accidentally hits a child while driving home in a drunken stupor, and morally compromised Detective Carl Summer (Tom Wilkinson, doing his usual bang-up job) is there to pick up the pieces and shield Malcolm from any legal repercussions.
Opening Friday in select theaters (as well as On Demand), Felony is a rich character study of three lawmen who are faced with compromising their own moral code when tragedy strikes. Concerned for the injured boy and his family, Jim Melic is determined to bring Malcolm and his own partner Summer to justice, even if it means threatening his own security within the force.
At today’s interviews for Felony, Joel Edgerton and Jai Courtney talked about acting opposite Tom Wilkinson, who carries the film’s most colorful and effective monologues.
Detective Carl Summer believes whatever his fellow detectives do in the line of work, their accomplishments and failures will all come out in the wash. Summer is resigned to the fate that all men and women must die, with their deeds and misdeeds erased with the passage of time.
I asked Edgerton and Courtney about the thrill of working with Wilkinson, a two-time Oscar nominee (In the Bedroom, Michael Clayton).
“I’m going to steal one of Joel’s favorite lines and say we both had a front row seat to the Tom Wilkinson show,” said Courtney, whose other credits include Divergent and I, Frankenstein. “It’s very, very true – he’s a very hard working actor (and) he was one of those guys who spent years and years in the theater before he crossed over to film and TV. (He) has that sense of traditional, classical training and that respect for the text and the work. And he maintains that.”
To hear Courtney give a pretty funny anecdote about working with Wilkinson (as well as hear Edgerton’s comments on working with the co-star), click on the media bar below:
At the end of the interview, Jai Courtney was asked about the highly anticipated 2015 feature Terminator: Genisys, which has him playing Kyle Reese. The picture also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke.
It’s a short audio clip about Terminator: Genisys, with Courtney throwing a Kyle Reese pun into the mix (Edgerton is also heard in the clip):
Ridley Scott is a master at directing epics, and he pulled off one of his more amazing feats by shooting Exodus: Gods and Kings in just 74 days. Christian Bale joins Scott’s sword and sandal universe as Moses with Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Animal Kingdom) playing the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses.
20th Century Fox provided the media with an early look of Exodus: Gods and Kings, as they showed select scenes from the film, followed by a Q&A with Christian Bale (the event’s details are covered in a Hitfix post).
Although the special effects and music were still at their temp stages, Ridley Scott’s visually ambitious scope was fully evident in a riveting action sequence involving Edgerton and Bale. The chemistry between the two leads is also evident, and co-star Maria Valverde (The Liberator) also lights up the screen as Moses’ love interest.
With such epics as Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood under his belt, Ridley Scott looks like he’s in fine form with Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Audience members can decide for themselves if Scott and company pull it off when the film opens nationwide December 12. But for now here’s the latest trailer that was just released this morning:
Exodus: Gods and Kings opens nationwide December 12.