Aussie writer/director Matthew Saville gets this character-driven, atmospheric police thriller off to a disturbing, crepuscular start tailing a distracted young woman (Maia Thomas) as she waits for the subway in a Melbourne station, lost in her noise-cancelling head phones. (All portentously captured on film with considerable flair by lenser László Baranyai.) From the platform, the car looks empty, ominously so. Taking a seat by the door as they automatically close, the train jolts forward, and a previously unseen woman, hidden by a bench partition, slumps to the floor with a thud . . . dead. Turning to look, the young woman now sees what had been hidden from her platform view: Six commuters on the floor. All shot. All splattered with their own bloody. All dead. And no way off till the next stop. A tough opening to top, but Saville barely tries. Instead, the search for the serial killer, and the girl’s fear of his coming back for her, are awkwardly folded into the life & times of a young beat officer (Brendan Cowell) facing down an onset of tinnitus (ringing in the ears/deafness) that’s got him demoted to overnight duty in a mobile police caravan unit. The two stories eventually meet up, largely thru happenstance in an arbitrary manner that holds little dramatic tension, satisfaction or sense of inevitability. And the brief flurries of action fall flat in Saville’s hands.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY/WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Between swallowed consonants & strong Aussie accents, optional subtitles on this FilmMovement DVD are a must . . but frustratingly unavailable. Instead, check your local tv listings for the nightly Police Procedural lottery, as needed.