Outlaws (2017)

Outlaws aka 1%
Director: Stephen McCallum
Writer: Matt Nable
Cast: Ryan Corr, Abbey Lee, Simone Kessell, Josh McConville, Matt Nable, Aaron Pedersen, Sam Parsonson, Eddie Baroo, Aaron Fa’aoso, Jacqui Williams, Adam T Perkins
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2018

Content Note: ableism, sexism, homomisia

Paddo (Ryan Corr) is the second-in-command of the biker club Copperheads. With their leader Knuck (Matt Nable) in prison, he is running things, trying to keep everything as smooth as possible until Knuck returns. With Paddo’s girlfriend Katrina (Abbey Lee) pushing him to grab for power in the Copperheads, while Knuck’s wife Hayley (Simone Kessell) jealously guards his position it’s easier said than done. But it’s his disabled brother Skink (Josh McConville) who throws the biggest wrench in his attempts at balance when he gets involved with Sugar (Aaron Pedersen) in a drug deal that goes badly.

1% isn’t exactly a revolutionary film, tackling a generally well-known conflict. But despite that and the fact that nothing much actually happens, it is engaging throughout and I enjoyed it, though I didn’t love it.

The film poster showing the main characters leaning around a huge "1%".

1% is interesting in its look at biker culture in Australia, though I did feel like there were films where I could get the same look. But the setting is certainly the most interesting thing about the film – the plot itself moves rather slowly and the story isn’t exactly novel.

But with biker culture comes a whole slew of problematic things as well: sexism, ableism and homomisia are all present in the film. While I did feel that the homomisia was seen critically, the film itself is pretty sexist in its portrayal of Katrina – the power-hungry woman without a conscience who will push her reluctant man to greatness, if he wants it or not. Fortunately, the film isn’t all black and white here and makes Katrina a bit more interesting than that, therefore keeping me more interested and less annoyed.

Simone Kessel and Abbey Lee in the film.

It was less successful with the portrayal of Skink. Skink has a learning disability and the way Paddo treats him is obviously meant to be seen as an heroic effort on his part, being loyal and protective and whatnot. But really, if you look at it more closely, it is super problematic and (almost?) abusive. It’s really not great.

Despite those problems, the film had me paying attention at all times. The cast was excellent (and Paddo was extremely nice to look at), so in the end there was something there that transcended the material overall. But it wasn’t enough to make the film really good.

Ryan Corr in the film.

Summarizing: it’s fine.

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