The Screen Critic: A bikie odyssey, a solid sci-fi thriller and a doco about the world’s most hated band

Jul 05, 2024
Source: Supplied.

The love of vintage motorcycles and life on the road drives The Bikeriders, a so-so drama about a Chicago bikie club called The Vandals.

Inspired by the titular 1968 photo book by Danny Lyon, the film takes us inside the club where squabbles about leadership and fierce demonstrations of club loyalty are punctuated by plenty of punch-ups.

Rising star Austin Butler (Elvis) plays the devoted, emotionally restrained bikie Benny, but be warned – though his handsome face dominates the film’s posters and ads, Tom Hardy is the lead character, playing Johnny, the tough-as-nails boss of the club.

While the period recreation is strong, The Bikeriders is not a top-tier bikie movie, with its rambling narrative, unlikeable hard-nosed characters and grand lack of actual motorcycle action.

The film’s saving grace comes from Jodie Comer. As Benny’s wife Kathy, she relates the story behind the club and imbues the film with the heart that is missing elsewhere as the story meanders between character vignettes and violent fights.

Fans of the first two Quiet Place films will no doubt love A Quiet Place: Day One, an origin story that takes us to the bustling day in New York when the visually-challenged aliens invaded and began chowing down on humans who drew their beastly attention by making the slightest noise.

Though there’s not much to the survival story, the film evokes some very strong atmospherics as the city is reduced to a post-apocalyptic shambles, with people stumbling about, scared out of their minds but careful not to make a sound.

Now, a quick warning: on the off-chance you come across an Indian action film called Kill, do yourself a solid and head in the opposite direction. Made without any discernible style or coherence, it’s an orgy of stabbing and violence with an idiotic story. Avoid.

Designed as a valentine to the band and its legion of followers, young and old, the biographical documentary Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line presents a fairly conventional run-through of one the most unconventional rock bands ever to shake the Australian music scene.

Replete with archival footage and new interviews, the film dutifully charts the band’s origins, activist agenda and internal tensions as well as an admittedly soft profile of lead singer Peter Garrett and his rather wobbly political career.

And for a somewhat more colourful musical documentary, call up Netflix and check out Hate to Love: Nickelback, a soup-to-nuts profile of the super-successful Canadian rock band that filled arenas yet, for a brief time anyway, became the most reviled group on Earth.

Precisely why Nickelback was targeted isn’t explored deeply, though the film suggests it was revenge by internet trolls who resented the band’s success. (Seems the all-Australian concept of the Tall Poppy Syndrome is now a global phenomenon.)

Most amusing was the backlash to the backlash, with Ryan Reynolds brashly regaling the band’s achievements in Deadpool 2. Rarely has being fair been so funny.

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