14 Feb 2024

Review: Force of Nature

From At The Movies, 7:00 pm on 14 February 2024

Calling Force of Nature a sequel to the popular cop movie The Dry is perhaps pushing it a bit.

Yes, it stars Eric Bana as federal detective Aaron Falk, but otherwise there’s not much connection with the first film, which involved a man returning home many years later and solving two vaguely connected crimes.

This time Aaron is solving the mysterious disappearance of Alice, who works for a shady financier called Daniel Bailey.

Eric Bana

Photo: Narelle Portanier

Alice had been part of a five-woman team-building exercise – to survive in the bush for a weekend. But only four came out.

The other women include Jill, the boss’s equally dodgy wife, two sisters – good girl Bri, ne’er-do-well Beth. And there’s the meek and mild Lauren, who had issues with Alice before they even went into the bush.

If director Robert Connolly has a weakness, it’s his fear of a simple, straightforward narrative.  

So, Aaron’s investigation is constantly interrupted by, not one but two flashback sequences – what happened with the five women, and a totally unrelated trip in the bush by a young Aaron and his Mum and Dad several years before

Still, like The Dry, Force of Nature is that rare thing, a big hit on both sides of the Tasman.    

It pops along at a commendable pace, glossing over a few holes in the plot, and Bana, as always, is a likable presence.

I wonder why New Zealand producers don’t have a crack at a few more film thrillers like this?  They’re clearly popular, judging by the success of TV series like The Brokenwood Mysteries and After the Party.

Perhaps we can give the “cinema of unease” a rest for a bit and turn to simpler fare. After all, who doesn’t want to know who dunit?

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