Right from the initial scenes, the action in Blame hooks you into this Australian thriller. Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, Blame's few actors and sparse location has taut energy and compelling insights into human behaviour.
Why are five friends planning to murder a piano teacher hostage in his home in the Australian outback? Why are they conflicted about carrying out this horrific act? Those questions are answered in due time in Blame, one of several Australian entries at TIFF this year.
The best-laid plans begin to sour once the friends begin to question themselves and each other. Couples bicker and they each argue relentlessly, all while the teacher attempts to escape his captors. It makes for great tension, especially when we're teased with a impromptu visit by a FedEx worker.
Blame crackles with energy in the first half, eventually losing steam as more questions surface about the murderous motivations. Sexual betrayal, manipulation and guilt begin to weight heavily on the characters. You get the sense they are each struggling with demons we can neither see or define, adding more mystery to the backstory.
A screenshot from the Australian movie Blame
Somehow, it doesn't matter that the film takes place in one location. Just a house and its surrounding forest, that's all Blame needs to keep the action flowing nicely. Also, Blame keeps the characters to just seven, so we can fully learn about the behaviour of each player without feeling overwhelmed by too many secondaries.
Too bad some of the actors come up short, such as Sophie Lowe as Natalie. Her deadpan delivery doesn't deliver the emotional heft needed for some of her more grief-stricken scenes.
When the climax finally strikes you in the cranium, Blame becomes more than just an exercise in revenge. It acts as a mirror to how people can easily twist each other for personal gain, how pride can infect our ego. Once Blame hits theatres in Australia (and hopefully beyond), it will surely be a hit.
Blame is one of many films DigitalJournal.com reviewed during TIFF. Read our other reviews: Casino Jack, Conviction, The Trip, Bad Faith.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com