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Redball

Reviewed By Filmink Magazine (owes us money)
Posted 04/01/99 18:52:46

"Jams your head in a vice and doesn’t let go til the credits roll."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

A female cop has a suspect in the interrogation room. Taping his mouth shut, she holds his nose and cuts his air. Ignoring the silent screams, she continues until he spills his confession. This is obviously not Detective Jimmy Smits, and Redball is definitely not NYPD Blue. This cop movie is cut from much rougher cloth, taking its cues from hard boiled American mavericks like Abel Ferarra and Sydney Lumet.

Filmed in a terse, scattershot style, Redball snakes its way through the lives and investigations of a loose group of Melbourne cops. Scenes of random police work are held together by the principal team of J.J Wilson (a tough but brittle McClory) and Robbie Walsh (the always impressive Brumpton) who are on the trail of child killer Mr. Creep.

After his infamous shot-on-video horror/exploitation flick Bloodlust (banned in Britain!), Redball is a big step up for director Jon Hewitt. While retaining his debut’s fierce vision , Redball is a far more original and intelligent film. Still using the video format, Hewitt has crafted an urban thriller propelled by an uncommon intensity; because it doesn’t look like a conventional film, Redball has an immediacy and sense of stained realism that the standard cop movie lacks.

The fingerprints of Hewitt’s influences are all over the film. The rank of Ferarra’s sleaze masterpiece Bad Lieutenant drifts in constantly (two cops sexually harass a pair of young disco dollies), and Hewitt looks over the shoulders of crime novelists James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard with rapacious audacity. But Redball’s tightly controlled sense of street urgency is all Hewitt’s own.

Tough, morally ambiguous and with a violence more suggested than grotesquely spelled out, Redball is a tense thriller that jams your head in a vice and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. -Erin Free

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