Film Review: Cut Snake oozes menace


Cut Snake is a Melbourne-based crime drama set in in mid-1970s, focussing on the story of Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell), an ex-convict trying to lead a straightforward, quiet life with his beautiful bride-to-be, Paula (Jessica De Gouw).

Things are turned upside down when an old acquaintance, Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) tracks him down and Sparra finds himself drawn back into a world that he thought he had left behind.

Director Tony Ayres manages to create a mood of simmering tension, from the moment Pommie appears onscreen in the opening shot. This steadily builds to a climax through the 90 minutes of the film. Similarly, Stapleton is great as Pommie. He oozes menace from minute one. The way he carries himself, the look in his eyes and his language are all immensely threatening, like every other character is one wrong word away from getting their head kicked in.

Russell and De Gouw are good supports. The former stuck between a rock and hard place and De Gouw as the feisty-yet-confused-as-hell woman in his new life, struggling to reconcile the past life of the man she loves.

But it is Stapleton that this story is all about. Fresh out of prison, he comes to Melbourne from Sydney and basically fucks up the lives of everyone he encounters. It seems he is just a massively violent, selfish arsehole, so it is genuinely surprising when the plot takes a turn at its midpoint. As viewers, we are forced to reassess everything we thought we knew about these characters.

While there are some problems with the film’s denouement (the stereotypical policemen and a slightly unbelievable occurrence in the final scene which I won’t go into, as it would be a huge spoiler), this is still an absorbing watch. It’s no Animal Kingdom, but then what is? Sullivan Stapleton’s dangerous performance alone is worth the admission fee.

Own it on Digital HD 22 January. Available on DVD & Blu-ray 3 February.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend.