When Knuck gets out of prison and returns to his motorcycle club on the fringes of Australian society, he finds himself in deadly conflict with his surrogate son Paddo. Only one of them can survive the coming battle.
Stephen McCallum’s feature debut is a familiar tale told with thundering originality. Focused on the power struggle a father and his surrogate son, the film elevates the usual gang politics, betrayals and violence to levels of Shakespearean tragedy using smart writing, authentic dialogue and absolutely brilliant cinematography.
When Knuck is released from prison, he discovers that his surrogate son Paddo has been taking care of his motorcycle club, and is now positioned as its de-facto leader. Paddo has done a fair amount to modernize the club, recruiting new members and expanding business. Though Knuck is pleased at first, it isn’t long before he realizes this progress is a challenge to his role and, backed by his equally ambitious wife, sets about reassuming his place at the helm. But Paddo isn’t willing to let go that easily and battle lines are soon drawn. A single incident will set off a fight that will see them sacrifice themselves and those around them to hold on to what they have.
With precise character work, a relentless pace and an eye for violence, McCallum crafts a tale both familiar and incredibly fresh. Excellent acting all around brings to life a little-seen subculture of Australia and the fight of old-vs-young is handled expertly. The film’s power resonates way beyond the final, brilliant shot of this exciting debut, which heralds the arrival of a new, brilliant voice in Australian film. (Evrim Ersoy)