Australian director John Balazs’s second feature-length film, Rage, is a thrilling tale that weaves together the worlds of home invasion, infidelity, and police procedural into one film that could be convoluted in different hands. The film starts off with a far-away shot of someone pouring what is presumably gasoline on top of a large object that is presumably a body they just threw in a hole in the ground, then lighting a match and watching as it is set ablaze. From the get-go, we are curious as to where the film will take us, and it takes us in a million different directions over the course of its two hour and twenty-ish minute run time.
Noah Tate (Matt Theo) works in real estate, and his wife, Madeline, or “Maddie” (Hayley Beveridge) works as a receptionist at a dentist’s office. They have a relatively normal life, other than the fact that you can tell their marriage isn’t exactly in the best place. Maddie asks Noah to come home early to have dinner with her. Noah can’t. He has to stay late at work. Maddie invites over her sister, Rebecca (Nic Stevens), to drink wine and complain about Noah. Noah is busy in some extra-marital activities at his office with Sofia (Natasha Maymon), which Maddie suspects him to be doing. While Maddie is about to take a shower, Rebecca thinks that Noah is home after hearing the door open. It’s not Noah. It’s two masked men who clearly had a plan to come there that didn’t involve Rebecca. Rebecca is killed, Maddie is raped, and when Noah gets home, as he tries to protect Maddie, her attacker shoots him three times and puts him in a coma for a month.
“…when Noah gets home, as he tries to protect Maddie, her attacker shoots him three times…”
Maddie is literally speechless for long after the attack, and police detective Rudy Bennett (Richard Norton) needs her to tell him the details of her attacker so that the police may bring him to justice. It just so happens that Maddie is seeing a therapist who she also won’t talk to, Dr Elizabeth Montrose (Tottie Goldsmith), who we later find to be Rudy’s wife. There are many coincidences in Rage that leave us not knowing how the puzzle will look once all the pieces come together, including every cast member, to where you feel as though anyone could be responsible. It’s riveting and will have you on the edge of your seat, especially in the third act, with a very well-written script by Michael J. Kospiah.
I was surprised by how much I liked Rage, considering I am usually loath to watch a movie over two hours long that hasn’t been directed by a complete mastermind like Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, etc. However, it makes sense that the film is as long as it is because there are so many bases to cover. The acting can be a bit touch-and-go and borderlines on soap opera territory sometimes, but mostly everyone gives really good performances, with Hayley Beveridge’s Madeline Tate as a stand-out. For the most part, I found Rage to be an incredibly satisfying dramatic thriller that I’m sure those who love the genre will thoroughly enjoy.
"…will have you on the edge of your seat, especially in the third act..."