Ryan (Sam Worthington) is a highly skilled ex-special forces operative and trained sniper. After a tragic bullet wound, Ryan returns home to his pregnant wife and only son, Billy (Gilbert Bradman), to work as a trainer and mentor. When he’s not working, Ryan loves camping and teaching his son how to survive in the bush and hunt. Unfortunately, something tragic and disheartening is about to touch his world.
After a horrible car accident involving Ryan’s wife, the film flashes seven years forwards. During the seven years, Billy has been in and out of six different schools across Australia due to Ryan’s inability to find fulfilling employment after leaving the army. Now a teenager, Billy (Edward Carmody), has started to live a life of crime, conducting multiple acts of stealing, drug possession and destruction of property. After appearing in court for the third time, Billy is given one last chance. If he ever appears in court again, he will be removed from Ryan’s care. With his world crumbling down, Ryan reconnects with an old friend, Johnny (Matt Nable,) who, in return, offers him work of a criminal nature. With no steady job and no other choice around him, Ryan does everything within his power and accepts. Now, Ryan must continue to try to heal from his dark past and enter a world of crime, hoping he can protect his son and prevent him from being taken away.
Transfusion is best described as a slow-burning crime story with a solid touch of family drama mixed in. It’s a story about a father trying to overcome his hurts and pain, protect his son and, sadly, getting pulled into a world of crime that could jeopardise their lives. The choices Ryan continually makes throughout the film are baffling and frustrating. Why Ryan steps into the criminal world may seem somewhat apparent, but it’s sad, evident and obvious that his choices are, in fact, mistakes that will only lead him to more trouble and drama. Billy is no different. As a teenager with many criminal acts under his belt and on his last and final chance, he also makes unwise choices that are baffling and painful to see.
When it comes to praises, I enjoyed the dialogue, which does carry a nice flow, and the way this entire film is shot is great. Both of these aspects are thanks to the Director and Writer Matt Nable (who, funnily enough, also plays the side character Johnny). The musical score is forgettable and reminded me of a TV soap opera, and the pacing is slow. The plot itself moves forward at a snail’s pace, feeling as though it is simply stewing on the same problems. Most performances are sadly wooden and stiff, especially during moments that I felt should be more heartbreaking or gripping. Lastly, my biggest disappointment comes with the ending, which felt unrewarding, incomplete, and vague.
Overall, while it’s exciting to see a directional debut from Matt Nable, the film carries a few pleasing qualities. The dialogue and the way it’s been shot are great, but sadly, the leading characters continually make poor and baffling choices. The story itself is slow and, at times, dull. For the most part, performances are wooden and dry, even during moments intended to be gripping or dramatic. As a crime story with added drama, I am saddened to say how little this film impacted me. Instead, many aspects seemed unclear and forgettable. Those who enjoy Australian crime films may find some parts pleasing, but many core elements, including the ending and final moments, felt unrewarding. Transfusion (2022) is Availalbe in Australian Cinemas from January 5th.