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Restraint

Year: 2009
Production Co: Filmgraphics Entertainment
Director: David Denneen
Writer: Dave Warner
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Teresa Palmer, Stephen Moyer

Two deadbeat lovers are on the lam, Bonnie and Clyde style, after a heist gone wrong. Trying to stay one step ahead of the cops, they come across the rural mansion of an enigmatic agoraphobic, breaking in and holding him hostage while they lay low and plan their next step.

It's a premise straight out of an everyday thriller, but there's more to their unwilling host than they realise - dark secrets are hinted at, and when the three start to bond in a strange way over the ensuing days, you just know it will end badly for at least one of them.

This was Aussie starlet Theresa Palmer's first film role, filmed before her breakout role in the harrowing Australian suicide drama 2:37, and it shows a talent that's a little rough around the edges but high in quality. In fact that description characterises short film director David Denneen's feature debut perfectly.

Palmer's thuggish boyfriend Travis Fimmel occasionally threatens to step into a parody of a dangerous, unhinged young man backed into a corner, and Stephen Moyer as their hostage occasionally doesn't ring true as a soft spoken man with a past.

The plot also creaks a little early on, but the few hints about hostage Andrew's past involving a wife who's disappeared and a possible murder keep you expecting an awful fate, particularly for Dale (Palmer) as he takes a shine to her youth and beauty.

But the film and the actors manage to hold their own throughout. Extremely well shot with soft colours and fine detail, it's more of a drama - neither particularly scary nor thrilling, but the occasional flashes of violence and malevolence will keep you guessing to the eerie closing frames.

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