Felony takes the US cinema/VoD route

19 October, 2014 by Don Groves

Matt Saville’s Felony is the latest Australian film to test the rapidly evolving US distribution model of theatrical and VoD release.

The crime thriller starring Joel Edgerton, Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney and Melissa George opened at 10 cinemas in the US last Friday, grossing an estimated $US4,200 via new distributor Gravitas Theatrical.


A month earlier the title was released on VoD platforms in what is known as the premium VoD window, priced at $9.99 to rent and $14.99- $16.99 for download-to-own. Last Friday the prices dropped to $6.99 and $9.99 respectively.

Gravitas Theatrical orchestrated prime placement of the title on sites such as iTunes and last week staged a well-publicised premiere in Los Angeles attended by Edgerton and Courtney.

The Goalpost Pictures production got mostly effusive reviews after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The latest batch of US reviews is mixed. The Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan is an admirer, observing, “Starring a trio of top male actors in splendid roles, the intricate, intimate Felony is a police story crossed with a perceptive psychological drama.

"Three very different Sydney, Australia, detectives, each one determined to do the right thing, have to decide how to define justice in one specific case and have to choose what lines can be crossed and what price can be paid in order to achieve it.”

So is The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney, who said, “Directed with contained intensity and sharp character observation by Matthew Saville, the brooding thriller covers familiar territory but does so with sustained tension and psychological complexity.”

But the New York Times’ Jennifer Catsoulis sniffed, “A deeply cynical movie masquerading as a complex moral dilemma, the Australian drama Felony proves only that skilled actors and slick photography can tart up even the most problematic script.

“Encasing low-rent ideas with a buffed veneer of sophistication, Felony (as written by Mr. Edgerton and directed by Matthew Saville) solicits sympathy for the Devil at every turn. "

Released in Australia by Roadshow, the film has grossed $712,000 in eight weeks.