Young, naive JR is sent to prison for a lowly crime where he quickly becomes the target of some very dangerous men on the inside. Luckily, the fresh faced JR is also noticed by Brendan Lynch (Ewan MacGregor), a professional criminal who takes JR under his wing and protects him while on the inside. Brendan’s help comes at a cost though, and JR is soon embroiled with a daring prison escape. Once on the outside, JR becomes an apprentice to Brendan as they plan a major robbery but it soon becomes clear to JR that he may be just a pawn in a very dangerous world of high stakes criminality.
The father and son dynamic between JR and Brendan is more interesting than the romance that develops between JR and Alicia Vikander’s endangered damsel. It’s a shame Vikander does not get a fully rounded character to show off more than just her striking beauty but instead Ewan MacGregor seizes his role as an unpredictable psycho and relishes it. He is the ruthless spark at the centre of the story and provides the film with its most interesting and volatile character.
Son of a Gun is hampered by predictable plotting but it still manages some very tense set pieces. Starting off as a realistic prison drama, it soon emerges into the Aussie sunlight and develops into something a little more fanciful on its way to a wonderfully tense heist as the criminals go after a horde of gold. The double and triple crosses won’t be surprising to many, but decent performances and some thrilling action keep Son of a Gun from firing too many blanks.
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