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Film Reviews: ‘Felony’ and ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

with Judy Thompson

Moral dilemma and Woody Allen’s latest

Felony is an Australian film written by Joel Edgerton starring Joel Edgerton as the main character Malcolm.

The film opens as Malcolm, a young family man and committed police officer is shot during a tense but successful drug bust. His bulletproof vest saves him.

After a celebration at the pub with colleagues he drives home and knocks a boy off his bicycle. The boy is critically injured.

In the confusion and shock after the accident, Malcolm is not honest about his part in this event. The consequences of this eat at Malcolm throughout the film.

An older detective Carl, played by Tom Wilkinson, arrives on the scene with his offsider, a young officious crusader, Jim, played by Jai Courtney. Carl manages to distract Jim with some tasks related to the accident while he ‘helps’ Malcolm by actively preventing a thorough investigation of the incident, and coaching him on what to say. He does this because he is “one of us”.

Jim meanwhile suspects a cover-up and visits the boy and his young attractive mother in the hospital. The crusader starts to look a bit grubby.

Malcolm’s wife becomes involved when he remorsefully confides in her.   She views the situation from the perspective of her duty to her own sons.

The dramatic climax occurs when the three men meet to discuss the incident. All three have different views on the consequences of the accident and the cover up. Another dilemma surfaces.

While all three have behaved badly at some point they are all basically likeable and well-intentioned. But there is that proverb about the road to hell and good intentions.

You may be pleased to hear this is not a shoot- em up, car chase film but a mature film dealing with difficult issues honestly.

Paul MacIness in his review for The Guardian says that the men in the film are not “raging bulls but stoic oxen who deal with their conflicts internally”.

 Reviews are generally positive. Highly recommended.

 

Magic in the Moonlight is the latest by the prolific Woody Allen.

Colin Firth does a Mr Darcy again, but this time in the 1920s as Stanley Crawford. Stanley is a sarcastic, sceptical, pompous, egotistical magician who delights in exposing the chicanery of mystics and clairvoyants.

The setting is a toned-down Baz Luhrmann Great Gatsby style with lovely vintage cars, 1920s costumes and very nice French real estate.

Stanley‘s old school friend asks him to help expose a young American ‘mystic’ called Sophie Baker. Sophie and her mother are proposing to relieve a wealthy widow of some funds. Jacki Weaver plays the wealthy scatterbrained widow. She does it very well.

There are the usual Woody Allen relationship themes. The ease with which Sophie initially dupes Stanley lacks credibility but perhaps that is where the ‘magic in the moonlight’ comes in.

Many critics also mention the lack of chemistry between Stanley and Sophie. The best scenes are with Stanley and his aunt which one reviewer has described as reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse.

Critics of the film, including The Sydney Morning Herald reviewer, feel that Woody Allen “could do better“ and is rushing to achieve one film per year at some cost to film quality. He has had some big legal bills.

 All that said, if you are looking for some lightweight frivolity this could be just the ticket.

Image: On the set of Magic in the Moonlight

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