Benjamin (Levi Miller) is a fifteen-year-old young man who hopes to become the next Olympic swimming champion for Australia. With his mum’s help, he gets up every morning at 3 am to train with his coach. His mother is determined to help Benjamin in every way possible to cross that finish line each time. Soon, Benjamin is invited to have several tests and trials to enter an elite sports academy with the end goal to compete and represent Australia in the Olympic games.
But life for Benjamin begins to significantly derail when he receives word that his father Rob (Jason Isaacs) has been released from prison. He attempts to contact Benjamin directly, leaving Benjamin unsure of what to do. Should Benjamin ignore his father? Is his father still a dangerous criminal? With the pressure of dealing with his father added to swimming, Benjamin detours from his dreams to enter a deep, dark world of depression. The question is, can Benjamin save himself before it’s too late?
For those who are not aware, Olympic Australian legend Ian Thorpe serves as an executive producer and assisted the cast and crew when it comes to training on set, ensuring the swimming aspect is represented correctly.
The plot is engaging and touching. I found this feature grabbed my attention quite early on, and I honestly went into this film not knowing much about it. Once we receive word about Benjamin’s father, it’s evident that this information will change this leading character dramatically. This plot development left me highly curious to know what path Benjamin’s life would now take.
Streamline is a directional debut by Tyson Wade Johnston. As a first-time feature by this director, I’m quite excited to announce that this film is outstanding. Performances on-screen are strong and powerful, especially from our leading young man Benjamin, played by Levi Miller. Side performances from Laura Gordon as Benjamin’s mother and Jason Isaacs as his father both shine wonderfully at various moments. Jake Ryan as Benjamin’s big brother and Robert Morgan as Benjamin’s coach also deliver unforgettable performances.
The audio track here is great. The vocals and dialogue all sound amazing, and even elements such as the minor sound effects are also pleasing. I found the style of filming creative with shots that capture tension perfectly. The shots used in the swimming pool are more examples of the director’s creative and fresh eye. While the filming style is generally great, the film’s first act does consist of a few shots that seem unsteady and wobbly. At first, I found this style of filming rather distracting from key moments, but thankfully this type of filming style doesn’t stay for long, and I found myself adjusting to these shaky moments as the film progressed. Naturally, this is simply a minor element to point out.
Overall, for a directional debut from Tyson Wade Johnston, Streamline is a highly impressive Australian film. It’s dramatic, touching and powerful, and I found myself engaged with this feature very early on. Performances are a major standout, with Levi Miller delivering what I feel could be his best role yet, and the film has plenty of equally impressive side performances. The audio track, while dialogue-heavy, was also great and can’t be faulted. Any concerns I have were generally minor and relating to the style of filming, particularly within the first act. In the end, I was left quite speechless and felt proud of this film. Streamline deserves a gold medal and comes highly recommended. Streamline (2021) is Now Available on Digital via Stan Australia!