Rugby footballer-turned-actor-turned-director Matt Nable directs Sam Worthington to one of his best performances in this Australian crime thriller.
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Australian National Rugby League footballer-turned-actor Matt Nable (best known for playing Ra’s al Ghul on The CW’s “Arrow”) makes his directorial debut with “Transfusion” (available in select theaters and on VOD beginning Friday, March 3). The promotional materials sold this Sam Worthington-starrer as an action flick, but I must assure y’all it’s far more “Animal Kingdom” as opposed to “Mad Max.”
Worthington stars as Ryan Logan, a Special Forces sniper who served alongside Johnny (Nable) in the Australian Defence Force. Both men have trouble adjusting to civilian life, but at least Ryan has the love of his wife Justine (Phoebe Tonkin) and son Billy (played in childhood by Gilbert Bradman and in adolescence by Edward Carmody) to help sustain him.
Tragedy befalls the Logan family. Teenage Billy has been in trouble to the point where the authorities have threatened to take him away from Ryan. This father will do whatever it takes to keep his son with him … even if he has to resort to engaging in criminal enterprise alongside Johnny.
“Transfusion,” which Nable also scripted, is a simple story told simply. There’s not a lot of action in the movie, but whatever bloodshed we get is capably captured, visceral enough and plenty jarring.
The performances of Worthington, Nable and Carmody carry the day. A lot of folks seem to enjoy ripping on Worthington, but more often than not I’ve found him to be a compelling screen presence. (For instance: Worthington was worlds better than the more respected bigger name Christian Bale in “Terminator: Salvation.”) Worthington does some of the best work of his career here. He’s capable in action, but really shines via his more emotional moments. Whether playing anger, love, sadness or some combination of all three, Worthington is never less than completely watchable. Nable alternates between charming and scary with great ease. Carmody embodies a prototypical sullen adolescent, but does so sensitively and is greatly aided by Nable’s writing.
Fans of Australian crime thrillers such as “Chopper,” the aforementioned “Animal Kingdom,” “Snowtown,” “The Dry” or “Nitram” will likely find plenty to glom on to with “Transfusion.” It isn’t the benchmark of this subgenre by any means, but it contains one of Worthington’s best performances and announces Nable as a director to watch.