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Movie Review: Impunity
Written by Spling   
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:46

Impunity (Freedom from Punishment) is a South African outlaw romance thriller based on a story by Trish Malone and adapted to film by director Jyoti Mistry. We trace the exploits of a love-struck, ultra-violent, on-the-run couple, who are connected to the murder of a politician's daughter, as Impunity tries to get by on titillation and experimental style.

This film is charged with violence as our "Natural Born Killers" meet at a bar, kill the abusive owner after a scuffle and then seem to drive each other into a primal, sex-fueled cross-country rampage. We're whisked from beautiful Kwazulu-Natal shores to hedonistic mayhem, as the visuals move from poetic-to-pornographic.

Impunity starts like Blue Lagoon with its determined and fearless co-leads, Alex McGregor and Bjorn Steinbach, arriving on a deserted beach only to engage in a sexual act, which will quickly determine whether you'll continue watching or not. While at first somewhat innocent, we soon realise these "nature-loving" co-conspirators are actually blood-spattered killers. Impunity gathers momentum as this love story turns Bonnie & Clyde ugly.

Alex McGregor carries the pretty-yet-dangerous tone of the film in a disconnected performance as Echo that parallels aspects from Scarlett Johansson's role in Under the Skin. While borderline exploitative, she does what she can with a mysterious character who doesn't seem to become any clearer with time.

Bjorn Steinbach rides shotgun to McGregor as Derren. He completes a handsome couple, but also suffers from vague out-from-the-cold characterisation. Their on-screen synergy propels Impunity, but keeps us at a distance as we never feel any closer to connecting with their animalistic personalities.

Impunity Movie

"Damn it woman, I said the red wig."

While Mistry seem intent on tapping into, and making a comment on South Africa's culture of violence and questionable justice system with CCTV footage, the script is underdeveloped and doesn't have enough weight to complete this thought.

Our lead characters have very little history or substance, making it difficult to figure out what's really motivating them. We're always on the outside and just as their trail of life juice and blood seems to evaporate, we're handed over to the authorities as the story shifts gear and introduces a political angle as two detectives also try to figure out what's going on.

Desmond Dube and Vaneshran Arumugam arrive on the scene to add some experience and story glue as two detectives, but take over to the point that Impunity could have gone for a The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby multi-perspective format.

Impunity has bite and potential, drawing on our country's beauty, themes of criminality and a classic thriller concept, but it's thwarted by "documentary" style camerawork, major perspective shifts and awkwardly gratuitous exploits. To make matters worse, it comes in the wake of Andrew Worsdale's much more convincing and grounded, Durban Poison.

The bottom line: Feral

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:51