Reviewbr> "There's some good news, and there's some bad news." - Detective Jordan Rhodes
Detective Jordan Rhodes is dragged into a crime wave hitting the Melbourne model scene, and it's going to prove costly. The initial murder shows a killer with a particular vicious streak who may be targeting specific victims due to some unknown agenda. It's up to Rhodes and his partner Carla Murphy to join the dots before the victim count gets completely out of hand or Captain Whitten, under pressure from the news media, hands them their arses. The case is going high profile
Naturally Rhodes has to take it one step beyond and becomes involved with Alexis Clarke, a suspect, only to learn that he's being manipulated by someone who wants the crimes to count. Hampering the investigation is a number of false trails being laid by our killer who uses the internet to good effect. When a Criminologist mentions to Rhodes that the perpetrator wants inside information, the Detective hits paranoia overdrive, but is it going to be enough before a carefully laid trap is sprung? Has Rhodes backed himself into a corner or will he be find a way out?
Nathan Hill approaches his serial killer flick in the traditional show the aftermath and then explain how we got there fashion that works pretty well for dragging you into a movie. Things are starkly shot with no attempt at adding the sort of polish that makes you wonder if some Director actually wants to make a serial killer flick as opposed to a statement on how glossy a film can be. A serial killer is slicing up the victims in grisly fashion and sending photos to a fashion magazine to ensure maximum coverage, we're talking a reign of terror that Hannibal Lector could appreciate. Anyone dialling in to the movie isn't going to be there for a Brady Bunch reunion, so Hill makes it gritty which pretty much underlines how the actual movie differs from the fashion industry setting it operates in. Feel free to write in and explain in gleeful detail how I missed the lack of budget forcing shooting requirements and I'll explain how for $5 dollars you can buy yourself some camera filters to add the sort of warm and fuzzies some Directors seem to think we all want in our serial killer diet. Hill here throws on a movie that matches Fincher's stark realism that underpins the thriller high water mark Se7en, guess the camera store was all out of those filters when Hill and Fincher dropped in for some extra kit for their respective movies.
What's really cool about Model Behaviour, apart from the pun in the title I'll get to if I've got time, is Director Hill going all Giallo on us with a touch that would have Argento nodding his head in approval. Now okay the thing with Giallo is the Director always gives the audience a visual clue as to how to resolve the mystery but doesn't put it front and center, check out Deep Red for example that hinges on something you probably don't notice in a mirror. Hill does exactly the same thing in a certain scene that involves the start of the descent for Detective Rhodes into manipulation. Anyone who is concentrating on the movie is going to pick up on the clue, but of course teens and chicks will be too busy checking their text messages to pick up on it. Which is kind of a roundabout way of saying Model Behaviour requires concentration to pick up on the visual clues.
[Editor's Note: Female readers can feel free to write in and complain about the clearly sexist comment above, please note we don't take text messages.]
Nathan Hill slides up to the Giallo, stares it in the face, then moves on with his busy schedule.
So like any good serial killer flick that seeks to veil the identity of the killer, there's that Giallo influence again, Nick Levy has his script sitting up and begging for its dinner. Things are well plotted out with enough clues strewn across the crime scene to ensure the resolution doesn't come out of left field. My only slight issue with the script was the overly explained motives for the killer; we're all adults here and can work out the reasoning behind the corpse trail for ourselves, it would have been better to leave things hinted at. Levy still manages to pull one hell of a twist on us, and we are aware of where things have to go, well at least those of us who weren't checking our text messages during the first five minutes of the movie are. Solid work by Levy, an excellent script that hide its outcomes while ensuring we get enough ya-yas to rock on with.
I'm going to throw in a bit of a bouncer here and say there's a theme going down that you'll only really touch bases with after the end credits roll. Everyone wants to be famous according to Alexis Clarke, and you have to say she's probably on the mark given the Bogan ability to snaffle mags covered "C" level celebs here in Oz. However some people don't want to be celebs, but are going to be regardless, grist to the mill of an over oppressive press. Detective Rhodes isn't exactly after a Cleo centrefold assignment but the news media still wants to know who he's currently dating, and no doubt brand of cigarettes he smokes and make of shirt he wears. Actually can the cigs, Journalists have their standards after all, which would be slightly lower than those exposed by an NRL team on mad Monday. Hill isn't overly pushing his theme, but if that's your thing then knock yourself out.
Behind the camera, and guess I might have covered this already sort of, Nathan Hill has Model Behaviour rocking along with a solid enough pacing to keep you glued to the screen. We're talking none of that distracting rubbish like lens flare, bullet cam, or erratic cutting that makes you wonder if you haven't dialled into someone's extensional nightmare. The focus here is on telling the story, building towards the first scene, and above all else ensuring y'all are focused on the mystery unfolding. While this is an Indie production, hence none of the false polish you might see in one of those multi-million dollar flicks the Country pumps out that no one bothers to go see overseas, the rule of thumb Hill is laying down is gritty realism, catching the urban wildlife of Melbourne in a not altogether favourable light. Thankfully the location scouts seem to have by passed Brunswick, which is just as well as apparently previous movies have done damage to their tourist trade. Well I'm guessing if the choices are Beirut, Pyongyang, or Brunswick a movie might have a negative impact. Anyways, sorry for the digression, Hill is being his typical professional self, though I reckon he might have had a job of work keeping his lead actor in line.
Which is a good enough sequeway, boo-yeah word of the week done, into some solid acting in the movie. Nathan Hill (Jordan Rhodes) is doing the business as the cop out of his depth. Ladies, Hill gets his top off, please form an orderly line at the DVD store and yes we will be flogging "Team Jordan" tees to those interested. However it's the ladies that are taking the prizes on the acting side of the script. Stacey McMahon (Alexis Clarke) is right across her role of working class girl who has done what it takes to succeed and is pretty hard nose about it. And Samira Amira (Carla Murphy) simply worked as the detective who does display "model behaviour" in the face of Rhodes losing any sort of professionalism he might have had.
Jamie Murgatroyd laid down the original music, which both backs Hill's visual and adds a touch of class, excellent effort, I was rocking out to it.
Sorry ran out of words kids and need to get this one to the Editor in time for tomorrow's publishing deadline. Had a hell of a lot of fun with Model Behaviour and would recommend the movie to anyone not afraid of tackling indie flicks or indeed who enjoys a good Giallo. Nathan Hill once again proves why he is regarded as one of our better movie makers to those that matter, i.e not the fracking Aussie mainstream.