Director: Stephen McCallum
Script: Matt Nable
Cast: Ryan Corr, Abbey Lee, Simone Kessell, Matt Nable, Aaron Pedersen, Eddie Baroo, Josh McConville
Running time: 89.5 minutes
Decent movies about bikers and biker gangs are pretty scarce, and most films involving bikers in any substantial way tend to be of an exploitative nature. So it’s quite rare to find a more mainstream film about bikers that can be mentioned in the same breath as iconic movies such as Stone (1974), Fixing the Shadow (1993), Stone Cold (1991) and Lone Hero (2002). Outlaws is definitely one such movie.
Coming across as a peculiar mix of Shakespearean tragedy, an extended episode of Sons of Anarchy, and hard-hitting antipodean drama, such as Romper Stomper or Once were Warriors, Outlaws is a hard-as-nails biker gang-related drama based in Australia.
Ryan Corr plays gang leader Paddo whose world starts to unravel when his mentally disabled brother, Adam, who is also in the gang, steals from a rival gang, setting wheels in motion that have tragic consequences for Paddo and everyone around him. Things get even more complicated when the original leader of the ‘Copperheads’ biker gang, Knuck (Matt Nable) is released from prison and wants to reclaim his top spot at the head of the biker gang table, creating an internal power struggle.
Outlaws is an unusual biker film as it also features some strong female roles, as Knuck’s girlfriend, Hayley (Simone Kessell), vies for power with Katrina (Paddo’s other half). In fact it’s the females who engineer much of the chaos that ensues, creating a macabre drama on a par with Macbeth.
Outlaws has been well put together by first time director Stephen McCallum, and he’s done a great job in assembling an excellent cast to help bring an interesting story to life. Initially I wasn’t blown away by Abbey Lee’s performance as Katrina, but as her character’s story arc unfolded I soon realised what was behind her slightly muted performance early on in proceedings. And, it has to be said, Matt Nable’s stellar performance as the older gang leader Knuck is a brilliantly menacing one. Matt Nable is probably better known for his role as Ra’s al Ghul in the Arrow TV series, and he also co-wrote this film.
For what must have been a low budget film, Outlaws is served very well by its grungy Australian locations, great cast, and classical plot of intrigue and Machiavellian machinations within the ‘court’ of a biker king. Recommended.
Altitude Film Distribution is distributing Outlaws on DVD. There were no extras or special features on the disc that I was sent.