Son of a Gun Blu-ray Review
SON OF A GUN opens with young JR (Brenton Thwaites) being booked into prison. We don’t know why he’s going in but we get a first hand look at the terror within the walls through JR’s fresh eyes. Without needless dialogue, we understand the sense of urgency felt by JR to find allies as the action around him is filled with brutality and danger. When he spies Australia’s most notorious criminal, Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor), playing chess, he offers a few pointers. Lynch recruits the kid to help plan an elaborate prison prison break followed by an exciting gold heist. The partnership within Lynch’s gang is invaluable but they are not without problems.
Not sure what to expect, SON OF A GUN is a surprisingly formidable genre pick dealing with heists and gangsters in enjoyable fashion. Ewan McGregor should tackle tough, no-noI have another recommendation for an unusual performance against type. The guy is scary tough. McGregor anchors the cast and helps guid the young lead actor, Brenton Thwaites, who you might have seen in MALEFICENT, THE GIVER, and THE SIGNAL all from last year. Showing up as a key, but unnecessary, love interest for JR is the beautiful Alicia Vikander. While she might be overt eye candy here, Vikander is about to explode with popularity from her riveting performance as an A.I. in this year’s critically acclaimed EX MACHINA.
The love story is unfortunately the part of the film that derails the exciting story. Most of the action is lively with interesting characters but the energy comes to a screeching halt, when a cliche love story is shoe-horned into the script. The familiar dialogue and predictable structure takes up far too much time and motivation when it could have easily been cut, replaced with a more dynamic finale. Thankfully the chemistry between McGregor and Thwaites is palpable. Their student/mentor relationship mixes up the dynamic as the trust always seems to be teetering on the edge.
Regardless of the missteps, SON OF A GUN is a thrilling modern criminal film. It’s lesser than the big players, but it wears it’s low budget and no marketing well. Director Julius Avery should be proud of this entertaining accomplishment for his first feature film. With a few tweaks and a more consistent originality in action, SON OF A GUN could have been a real player. The strong opening pulls the viewer in, while the cool energy and the smart casting of the always magnetic McGregor makes this film worth giving a shot.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.40:1) The picture is sharp with interesting tones.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is crisp and clear.
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Julius Avery: It’s a fairly rudimentary commentary, but Avery’s passion and excitement for his film is contagious. It’s cool to hear an early filmmaker be enthusiastic about his work.
Partners in Crime: The Making of Son of a Gun (12:55): A basic “making of” featurette, with plenty of cast and crew interviews combined with clips from the film.