DVD REVIEW: Backtrack

Since the surprise hit that was The Babadook hit the screens, some in the media (well, the Australian media at any rate) are claiming that there is a resurgence in Australian horror / suspense movies… not likely if Backtrack is anything to go by – Sam Neill & Adrien Brody together, and it still went largely un-noticed and straight to disc.

That’s not to say that this film is entirely bad… only – it could have been a whole lot better! The first act is sincerely, enough. Brody and his wife are dealing with a lot of grief – their young daughter was struck down by a car, and his wife is on heavy meds, whilst Brody himself is racked with guilt, as the accident happened whilst he was momentarily distracted taking her out on her bicycle. It has to be said, this is handled very deftly, and you really feel for the parents – much like Donald Sutherland & Julie Christie in Don’t Look Now. As a form of professional distraction in this situation, an acquaintance of a colleague whom Brody confides in (played sparingly by the brilliant Sam Neill), suggests a stream of new clients / patients (including Mad Max legend, Bruce Spence) that might keep Brody’s brooding at bay. These clients are a real mixed bag, and whilst some of their cases are compelling, Brody can’t seem to keep his mind focussed – except for one: a teenage girl who keeps appearing & disappearing at his offices in the strangest of ways…

Act two takes Brody back to his childhood town, staying at his father’s house (the local retired sheriff), still trying to deal with his feelings. Going home puts him back in touch with old friends (and the new female deputy), but one encounter in particular causes lost childhood memories to re-surface in nightmarish fashion, and Brody is forced to confront the idea that as a teenager, he may well have been the cause of a tragic accident that claimed several lives, and that his father may well have covered for him to block the memories out…

The final act ties the story up neatly – sorry no spoilers! – except to say what was a deftly-handled plot twist is wrapped up with a rather clumsy righting of a great wrong.

As I said, the film isn’t entirely bad – but it does linger far too long during some stages, and you’re left sitting there waiting for something to actually happen. Brody is pretty good, but this not the Brody you’ve seen in the The Village or King Kong, and Sam Neill is completely underplayed. Bruce Spence, however, is rather good as one of Brody’s new patients… worth watching whilst you’re doing the ironing, but I wouldn’t set time to specifically watch it…

GS Rating: 3.5/5

GS Blogger: Silverfox

Source: Arrow Films

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