- Director: Dean Francis
- Writer: Stephen Davis; Dean Francis
- Producer: Raymond Chan; Stephen Davis
Dean Francis has had an interesting career...thus far - experiencing the highs and lows of filmmaking.
In 2010, it looked like the end of the line...with the risible Road Train (don't even think about watching it).
Five years prior - he made the stunning short: Boys Grammar (do what you can to see this).
2015 saw a rather bashed director re-emerge with a micro-budget feature: Drown.
Despite the meagre budget...there is much to admire...
The energy, the intensity, the on-screen talent...all relentless.
Matt Levett's central performance is a bristling, high-voltage assault, not only to the senses, but to common decency - yes, unfortunately, these self-perceived Alpha males do exist.
Francis takes the typical Alpha male into a whole new arena - the brainless, brash baboon meets his nemesis...his gay equivalent/rival...everything he is and more...cultured, refined, ambitious...
Let the battle commence...it's volatile, sparks and punches fly off the screen.
At times, the editing can be dizzying, the timeline a tad confusing and the writing teeters precariously close to the absurd...but, this is a prime example of filmmaking with what you have and not with what you want...yes, it does make it so much easier when you have Sydney as a backdrop and some decent actors...but, when a director is prepared to take risks - things can be catapulted into the stratosphere...Drown soars.
And, credit where credit is due, to elicit such a powerful performance from an actor takes skill...especially when the support is equally commendable.
If you want innocuous gay-themed drama...go somewhere else.
This is savagery at its best.
In the cloistered world of competitive surf-lifesaving, an Australian hero is de-throned as the reigning champion by a younger, gay competitor. He embarks on a campaign of intimidation and bullying against the newcomer but is forced to confront his own repressed homoerotic desire. A booze-fueled night out brings jealousy, homophobic fear and unrequited lust to a tragic and shocking climax.