On a cold Wednesday night, a friend took me to an advance screening of Swerve, the new Australian crime drama. Set in some dinky little country town called Neverest, which might as well be called Lower Armpit, it follows the events surrounding a briefcase full of drug money and the people who discover it.
The film stars local talent including an increasingly menacing Jason Clarke (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), the incredibly leggy Emma Booth (Blood Creek and The Boys Are Back) and the charmingly innocent David Lyons (The Cape TV series).
It opens with a big drug deal taking place somewhere in a vast, dry country area. One man hands over a briefcase of money. The other hands over a briefcase full of drugs. Or so it seems. The drugs are fake and the briefcase is rigged to explode, leaving the second man with a briefcase full of $100 bills. Things are going well for him until he swerves off the road to avoid an oncoming car, killing him and leaving the accident survivors to find his money. Things go south quite rapidly from there. There's murder, bashings, spouse abuse, and chase scenes, but all done in a quite understated Australian way.
Look, I'm not a big fan of Australian cinema. I don't mind the occasional ozploitation movies, the cut rate horror movies like Bloodmoon (1990), Kadaicha - Stones of Death (1988) or even the very quirky and funny Sam Neill movie Death In Brunswick (1991), but I generally avoid Australian TV and film. But this one surprised me.
The premise was seemingly simple, but over the course of the movie there are questions that I still haven't found answers for. It has a fun and often improbable plot where everything goes to crap. The performances are great and the direction is effective, and there are several twists in the plot, often revolving around Emma Booth's character, that shift the countenance of the events considerably.
And I think that's where the title has many meanings. The establishing scene in the movie is a swerve to avoid traffic. The twists in the plot are swerves in themselves. The choices the characters make are also swerves, deviations from their planned courses of action which result in unexpected consequences. Swerve is a solid movie; I wouldn't have made the choice to see it myself, but I'm glad someone else invited me along for the ride, haha.
Australian viewers can see this in cinema starting June 7. American audiences can see it at the same time but it probably won't get a wide release, so the next best thing for the American badmovies brethren will hopefully be Netflix and DVD rental. Check it out, it's decent entertainment.