Within the first five minutes of Craig Lahiff’s Swerve, not a single word is uttered and yet we’ve been introduced to many of the main players and their utmost desires. Its one of the single greatest rules of cinema, the notion of showing the audience, but not telling them directly, in order to create both suspense and engagement. After witnessing a major accident on the way to an interview, Colin (David Lyons) manages to get stuck in the small town of Neverest. When looking at the wreckage, he finds a suitcase full of money that he reports to one of the police officers in town, named Frank (Jason Clarke). After everything’s reported, Frank invites him over for dinner and manages to see one of the people that was involved in the accident, Frank’s wife, Jina (Emma Booth). Colin manages to get into all kinds of trouble, with not only Frank and Jina, but some other locals and drug dealers that are trying to get their money back.
Immediately, Swerve showcases its sense of style, its roots in genre and its overall ability to tell a solid story, always with a sense of flair. Everything from the dutch angles, to the music, Lahiff’s Swerve is doing everything in its power to whisk you away into a mash up of a crime film, a love triangle and an overall sense of dread. I was immediately reminded of The Cohen Brothers first film, Blood Simple, as I watched Swerve, in the sense that while its rooted in all of these genre conventions, the film is always trying to present a solid thriller and having fun while doing it. I was completely surprised to find out that Lahiff hadn’t directed a film in close to 10 years after directing Swerve. His ability to maintain story elements and create suspense, seemed as if he’d been doing it for years, Lahiff is true master at work and Swerve is a perfect testament to that.
While all of the actor’s seem as if they’re having fun with their roles, its clear that Jason Clarke is having the best time with the character of Frank. From the tension he builds with both Emma Booth and David Lyons, to his overall screen presence, Clarke showcases some fantastic talent, as the crazed and obsessed husband. Emma Booth does an astounding job as Jina, where she easily flips back and forth from the victim, to the seductress. Seeing her in the TV series, Underbelly, did a great job at showcasing her abilities and Swerve puts her acting chops on full display. While I’ve never seen anything from David Lyons before, he carries the film exceedingly well and portrays the fish out of water story, with an innocent air about him.
So far, Cohen Media Group has presented some great foreign films and cinematic classics, but nothing really comes close to Swerve. A genre thriller that entertains through its twists and turns, Swerve highlights the abilities of its cast, entices us with its techniques and makes us stay for the wild ride! Highly Recommended!