Sometime during the pop culture fog of the 1990s, every young filmmaker suddenly wanted to be Quentin Tarantino. It was a plague that resulted in the release of several awful motion pictures, each one looking to make their own mark with displays of ultraviolence and marathon dialogue exchanges, set to a slack widescreen beat. Bad Behaviour is a bit of leftover genre gristle from the QT heyday, attempting to mimic a few difficult cinematic dance moves, only writer/director Joseph Sims just doesn’t have the experience to skillfully sell his ambition.
Peterson (Lindsay Farris) and Emma (Caroline Levien) are serial killing siblings tearing around the Australian countryside searching for some type of safe haven, away from troubles involving enigmatic brute, Voyte (Roger Ward). Retired cop Ricky (John Jarratt) is surviving a disturbing evening trying to calm his close friend, Mark (Dwaine Stevenson), who’s kidnapped his wife’s lover (Robert Colby) with intent to murder the hapless man. And for a group of spunky teens looking for an evening of relentless partying, the celebration takes a wicked turn when one of the adolescents selects the wrong house to steal beer from.
What Sims has here with Bad Behaviour is a series of slapdash scenes in search of a motion picture. Toying with time for reasons not entirely understood, the feature is a disjointed, rambling creation, leaning far too much on the talents of the cast to make monotonous dialogue and spastic violence entertaining. There’s no grotesque pucker to the piece, no macabre movement that keeps attention fixed to the screen. Instead, there are just numerous prolonged moments of conversation between uninteresting characters involved in derivative dirty work, with Sims failing to attach a rousing opener or satisfying closer that renders the viewing experience worth the time invested.
Bad Behaviour is a crime picture of sorts, though Sims doesn’t hug all that tightly to the malevolence the characters supposedly engage in. The filmmaker would rather have his actors converse for lengthy periods of screentime, discussing pertinent problems or just shootin’ the breeze, a deadly development explored in full during the teen party sequence, where the kids blather on incessantly, including a chat about which Harry Potter character they like to have sex with. Normally, with a special scripted curveball, this type of white noise is welcome, introducing difficult personalities from unexpected areas, while delivering some needed flashes of comedy. Sims isn’t that proficient a writer, and most of the banter is positively comatose, unable to nudge the story along or conjure any importance for anyone on screen.
Sims weaves the movie through some abstract imagery, while tinkering with acts of murder and mayhem, with beheadings, gouged eyes, and sprays of bloody vomit meant to snap the picture awake. The filmmaker certainly has a way with gore zone goodies, but the brutality is hopelessly ephemeral, killing any opportunity for Bad Behaviour to create some sustained excitement in middle of all the tedious conversations.
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