Stapleton kills it in Cut Snake
Sullivan Stapleton’s performance as a vicious thug in Cut Snake has been lauded after the world premiere of Tony Ayres’ crime thriller at the Melbourne International Film Festival last Saturday.
In the 1970s-set film scripted by Blake Ayshford Stapleton’s character Pommie is an ex-crim who tracks down his former cellmate Sparra (Alex Russell).
While Sparra tries to go straight with his soon-to-be-wife Paula (Jessica de Gouw), who knows nothing of his shady past, Pommie sets out to lure him on a dangerous path.
“Cut Snake is reasonably engrossing thanks to its eye-candy cast of rising stars, notably a ferocious but emotionally exposed performance from Sullivan Stapleton,” declared The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney .
‘”For an emerging actor doing muscle movies like 300: Rise of an Empire, Stapleton, who first turned heads as a different kind of thug in Animal Kingdom, doesn't shrink from displays of the torn heart that beats beneath brawny Pommie's '70s porn-star chest hair.
“His mad-eyed desperation becomes unexpectedly affecting, and Ayres pumps up the character's tragic vulnerability with some Christ-like poses.”
In his capsule review the Sydney Morning Herald’s Karl Quinn enthused, “Stapleton is astounding, oozing menace without ever becoming cartoonish with it….. Cut Snake is an unexpected and invigorating piece of work, blessed with a simply brilliant central performance.”
The LowDownUnder’s Stephen A Russell opined, “Stapleton is magnificent, delivering a towering performance bulging with unbridled menace and, more startlingly, a deftly judged vulnerability too.
“Even as he’s in the midst of meting out another savage beating, somehow you still find yourself sympathising with this lost character and the impossible situation that has become his raison d’etre.”
Russell also heaped praise on the performances of De Gouw and Megan Holloway as Paula’s ballsy flatmate Yvonne.
Rooney welcomed Ayres’ willingness to stretching himself in new directions after Walking on Water and The Home Song Stories but said, “He doesn't seem at ease on this turf, making for a drama that's both overwrought and underpowered.”
I’ve not seen the film but that seems an odd view considering Ayres’ splendid work recently as the director of two episodes of The Slap and one segment of Tim Winton’s The Turning.
EOne will launch the film in Australia next year, date to be fixed.