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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.06.19] Australia thriller drama crime

Ryan is a successful guy. A regular on TV broadcasts, he’s a successful and computer programmer but reality is very different than his public persona. His marriage is falling apart, and business is not as good as it once was. When his estranged father dies suddenly, Ben returns home for the first time since his teenage escape only to discover that his father’s death is even more suspicious than he originally suspected.

Locusts‘ story of a man dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s death is frequently mined, though screenwriter Angus Watts tries to keep things interesting by infusing a few twists into the story; namely a fraught relationship with a brother, a former girlfriend, and the driving force at the centre of the entire thing: the town drug dealers who are likely responsible for the death of Ryan’s father.

The bells and whistles make for a few peaks in the plot but as a whole, they’re little more than blips that don’t make for a particularly interesting overall story. At one point, there is an attempt to infuse the movie with a bit of comedy in the form of strip club heist but as with everything else in Locusts, it’s fun in the moment but feels out of step with the rest of the movie.

For all it’s story problems, Locusts isn’t without merits. Ben Geurens is really compelling, and cinematographer Chris Bland makes some interesting choices and captures both the beauty and overwhelming sense of dread of the Australian countryside.

Thought it’s aptly made, the pacing of Locusts is a bit off and the movie feels a bit too long, particularly in the third act where another storyline seems to creep in out of nowhere and distracts rather than adds to the central story. In the end, Locusts is a promising thriller that entertains in the moment but doesn’t offer anything particularly memorable.

Locusts screens again at the Whistler Film Festival on December 8.

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