Saturday, October 16, 2010

Acolytes - Unfocused Thriller's Hit-and-Miss Watchability

Mark, James (Joshua Payne) and Chasely (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) live their teenage lives the way they want in rural Australia. One fateful day, Mark (Sebastian Gregory) witnesses a body being buried in the woods. Any connection from a local girl's disappearance?

Director Jon Hewitt creates an atmosphere of monotony that eventually takes its toll on the audience, and when we were somehow expected the requisite adrenaline rush, our ennui couldn't resurrect our initial interest! There were too many side stories that weren't adequately mined into a compelling whole.

Let's take, for example, the boys' past. When they were children, they were "brutally" raped by a guy (Gary Parker) who walks freely as we speak. No one knew of the incident! Yet this bombshell doesn't seem to figure prominently in the narrative until much later! Sure, the boys were "scarred" but not all that much, as it would seem! They were more concerned with this suspicious other guy (Joel Edgerton) whom Mark saw burying an unidentified corpse in the woods. And what's with the reference to butterflies? "Silence of the Lambs" anyone? More like, "Silence of Rapunzel" when she got caught by the witch! When the body count starts piling up, we were curiously unmoved!

The narrative has several interesting ideas that were recklessly stitched together, resulting into a largely unfocused work that ultimately inspired snoozing! For a thriller, that is almost sinful!

The young cast headed by shaggy-haired Sebastian Gregory does well. Their performances kept me from abandoning the film - barely!

Such is the power of "Acolytes" - or the lack of it.

Mark, James and Chasely

Digging away!


Sebastian Gregory is intense. See him in the other Australian film "Beautiful" which we loved! It was a film that kept us guessing!

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