When a petty thug, JR (Brenton Thwaites, The Giver), is imprisoned, he is taken under the protection of legendary thief Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor). Upon his release, he becomes a crucial cog in Lynch’s plan to steal gold, but JR’s interest in the mysterious Tasha (Alicia Vikander, The Fifth Estate) may prove to be his undoing. A lesser known film from Lionsgate, McGregor’s name sold me on checking it out, and it is ultimately his performance that lifts it from ordinary heist flick.
The prison life depicted in this Australian thriller proves some of the best scenes of the film, and they all come early on. After JR helps break Lynch out of prison, the action moves toward Lynch’s deliberation with Sam (Jacek Koman, The Great Gatsby), as they work toward the actual heist. It slows down considerably, even as JR pursues Tasha against his boss’ wishes and advice. Sure, there are a few gripping scenes, like when Lynch discovers Merv (Eddie Baroo) lied about why he was serving time, having assaulted a young woman.
Broadly, everyone in the film is some kind of criminal, but some are worse than others. We are drawn to McGregor’s powerful portrayal, but he also has a code. He urges his men not to kill, and certainly remains troubled by allowing Merv into the gang. There are things men should (or shouldn’t) do in Lynch’s mind, and it shows a certain value system that we expect of the “bad man with a heart of gold,” if there is such a thing.
Overall, it’s stylized and occasionally exciting, but the film doesn’t bowl you over with its story. If you’re looking for a rental, this might entertain you, but McGregor’s role is the one that steals the screen time. rating: rainy day it.