Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Directed by: #MassimilianoSappa
Written by: #MassimilianoSappa
#Australian films are known for their unique humour and wit: they’re often dark in atmosphere, and at times, even cruel in manner. It’s a fairly common motif. One only needs to look at #GregMcLean's #WolfCreek films to know what I mean. And whilst there’s nothing that’s anywhere near as gruesome or bizarre as that in #MassimilianoSappa’s engaging and brilliantly put together #thriller, that wicked sense of humour is present by the bucketload.
The film opens as #PeterMcAllum’s character – Credited only as ‘Austere Old Man’. Which is just wonderful, isn’t it – monologues to two young captives (#ConradLeBron, #CalebAlloway) about how their generation lacks respect. Fighting back the tears, our ‘Austere Old Man’ then drops the bombshell that his wife and baby were killed in a hit-and-run by a young driver. Grief soon turns to hate, however, as he sets out his plan: two injections for two captives; one is a sleep drug, the other––lethal.
And do you know what? As the camera lingers closely on McAllum’s face, you’ll believe every word of it. Just like I did. The performances here are brilliant, but it’s McAllum in particular who really stands out. The sense of threat in his character's voice, the hatred in his eyes, the sorrow he so obviously feels as he talks about his wife and child, and moreover, the way he flicks between all these things in the space of a couple of minutes is astonishing. Both Le Bron and Alloway give solid performances, but neither has an awful lot to do, other than look scared. At least not until the end, when the movie undergoes a massive tonal shift.
The film creates and maintains its tense #thriller atmosphere by utilising every asset at its disposal. Sappa’s writing is good, but it’s his skill as a director that really brings this film together. #StephenRangott’s cinematography, #RhysDWebb’s music, and #ChristopherSpurr’s editing have all been expertly pieced together; and the result is superb. The dimly lit garage setting, the character-enveloping shadows and the soft, menacing whir of the film’s score work alongside one another to generate a full-blooded #thrillermovie ambience; which is then completely stripped away for that twist ending.
Respect 101 is a quintessentially #Australianfilm. But more importantly, it’s just a bloody good movie. It’s a well-made and highly entertaining piece of #independent film-making with some outstanding performances from its small cast. The finale is genuinely brilliant and hugely funny; something which took me completely by surprise. And, at less than 6-minutes in length, you’ve got no excuse not to watch it.