The film opens with a game of chess being played by two mysterious men and a voiceover letting us know who they are: Abe (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) and Frankie (Nathan Phillips). Abe is an old-school gangster who has dissociative identity disorder, meaning there are multiple personalities flowing in his veins. As for Frankie, we learn he’s a different kind of human being: a psychopath. Abe and Frankie’s game has high stakes, but before we see the game’s results, we get to go back to see where it all began.
Our narrator is Benny (Clayton Watson), who claims that Abe has been like a father figure to him and a close mate regardless of all his faults. Each day, Benny works as Abe’s driver. One morning, Abe wakes up to life with his partner, Sophie (Holly Brisley), and his young daughter. Abe feels change is in the air and feels good about himself. Waiting for him outside is Benny, and Benny quickly realises that Abe must be off his meds as Sophie left him some time ago. Benny goes along with Abe’s chatter about Sophie, and the pair drive off together. As they drive, we gain more information about Abe’s illness, including the most dangerous personality inside him: Kane (Jake Ryan). Kane is a fighter, fixer, and killer. What started as another day of crime for Benny and Abe soon turns into a gang war within the city, and Kane is about to be unleashed.
Kane is a crime story with some minor moments of drama. To my surprise, the film is also a thriller and there are a few twists and turns as the plot progresses. Those who enjoy big reveals will be delighted by the final moments, which were both unexpected, creative and a strong concept. Kane is the directional debut of Blair Moore, who also serves as the writer. Visually, this film is enjoyable to watch, and the filming style and clarity of the picture are impressive. As a bonus, it’s wonderful to see the streets of Brisbane shine on-screen in this crime film.
Performance-wise, Jake Ryan as Kane felt like a wise casting choice. Kane is meaningful, lethal, and dangerous as a character, and if you were to see him in real life, chances are you would run in the opposite direction. Another welcomed presence is Nathan Phillips as Frankie, who is wild, crazy, and loud, perfectly portraying a psychopath. Clayton Watson, as the narrator, is also great, although the working relationship between Abe and Benny was weaker for me. While the multiple twists and turns were surprising, the film’s most significant issue was the non-chronological storytelling. We learned early on that Abe has multiple personalities, but watching Kane conduct various hits confused me. This was more so due to the timeline of the story, which would go back and forth, and felt complex.
Overall, Kane is a solid directional debut for Blair Moore. I admired the visuals in this film, and they felt fitting for a crime story. The thriller aspect, including the multiple twists and reveals throughout, was delightful, clever, and downright fun. Performance-wise, I enjoyed Jake Ryan as Kane and Nathan Phillips playing a crazed psychopath. I also loved seeing the streets of Brisbane City come to life throughout this film! However, there’s no denying it: the storytelling is full of complexity and, at times, perhaps slightly messy. The concept and idea behind the film are brilliant though, and I’m excited for what’s to come next from Blair Moore.