Cut Snake (2015): Smoldering Sullivan Stapleton (Review)

Sullivan Stapleton and Alex Russell

Set in 1970s Australia, Cut Snake features a smoldering Stapleton Sullivan who moves through most of the film like a big jungle cat. He visits his old mate Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell) and finds him engaged to Paula (Jessica De Gouw).

Directed by Tony Ayres, from a screenplay by (Blake Ayshford),  Cut Snake puts the audience on tender hooks almost from the first frame. Pommie (Sullivan) travels from Sidney to Melbourne to see his pal, Sparra.  Once he arrives,  Pommie wastes no time integrating into  Sparra and Paula’s life. 

As the fim progresses the audience learn more about Sparra and Pommie. Pommie is all testosterone fueled aggression and  he seems full of cheerful menace. Sparra is adamant that he has gone straight. Pommie sets about tearing down his friend’s new life after prison.

Ayres gives the audience a brilliant bit of misdirection. The first part of Cut Snake is full of Sparra’s unease at Pommie’s emergence from prison.  Both men increase the tension level with their “back and forth” and it seems that initially Pommie is interested in Paula.

The film then shifts direction and it is revealed that Pommie is not interested in Sparra’s fiancée at all.

Cut Snake is a nerve wracking film to watch. Even after Pommie’s true motivations are revealed, the tensions do not abate  one iota. The vast majority of the film is spent waiting for that other shoe to drop.

Midway through it does and it lands heavily.

At its core, Cut Snake is a romance film set against a thriller background.  All the actors really deliver and delved deep to find their characters’ inner truth.  The unease felt every single time that Stapleton appears on screen, never goes away.

The desperation felt by Sparra, who frantically tries to go straight, is equally present in Pommie. The violence prone hard man is pure frustrated  rage topped by a crushing longing for something that, he learns eventually, he cannot have.

Ayres puts the film together brilliantly. The scenario is compelling and nigh on impossible to stop watching. Sullivan looms large in every single scene he is in.  He emits a presence so intense it is difficult to imagine sharing screen time with the actor.

The music screams the ’70s, from Linsey de Paul to David Essex singing the eternally catchy tune Rock On,  it all brings 1974 Sydney to living breathing life.  The clothes look perfect and everything from the sets to the cars is spot on.

Sparra’s carefully laid plans crumble to pieces as Pommie refuses to leave. He drags his old cellmate down back into a life Sparra swore to leave behind.

Sullivan, who is currently wowing the world on Blindspot makes Pommie bigger than life. The former convict is all muscle and attitude in his quest for what he desires. By the end of the film viewers who are not familiar with Sullivan’s work will realize he has Goliath sized chops.

Alex Russell holds his own in this intense story of love, betrayal and criminal activities down under. De Gouw does not shirk her acting duties either and all three really deliver in this  Aussie thriller.

Cut Snake is streaming on Hulu  and is definitely worth watching.  This is 5 star entertainment. The film, almost two hours long, never drags and is impossible to stop watching.  Check out the trailer below: