Risk is a competent enough Australian film but borrows too heavily on precedents already set by Wall Street and its imitator Boiler Room. Moving to Sydney without a penny to his name, young Ben Madigan (Tom Long) takes the only job he can find, and unfortunately for him it’s in insurance. As a trainee, Ben is given two weeks to prove he can handle it as an insurance adjuster, and quickly turns to mentor John Kriesky (Bryan Brown) in order to gain valuable insight and experience. Kriesky, a colourful yet shady character, takes a shine to Madigan’s honesty and caring attitude towards insurance claimants. Soon, and predictably enough, Madigan is drawn into Kriesky’s world of under-the-table fake claims and both become entangled with sexy lawyer Louise (Claudia Karvan) whose greed might cause the trio’s undoing.
Risk is, quite frankly, an OK film. The director (Alan White) has a clear eye for eye catching visuals, and Australia’s tourist department should surely hire him for promotional videos. However, although the natural skylines are depicted as stunningly picturesque, White compensates this by presenting interior locations with upper-class white-collar minimalism that if anything serves to only show the limitations of the budget.
The plot, as already mentioned, is a blatant rip-off of Wall Street; substituting insurance for the stock market. To understand the character dynamics, just replace Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Darryl Hannah with Bryan Brown, Tom Lang and Claudia Karvan. There are some fascinating insights to be learned with regards to insurance adjustment ploys, but that’s really it.
Tom Lang is adequate as Ben Madigan. He looks and acts like a poor man’s Guy Pearce. Claudia Karvan is sexy enough as the ‘femme fatale’ of the film, but the person who really shines (or at least shines compared to the rest) is veteran Bryan Brown, who walks through his role and comes across and humourous and likeable. You certainly feel more sympathy towards him than Tom Lang, which probably isn’t the point.
The music by Don Miller-Robinson is frequently annoying and at one point one of the cues is such a rip-off of Air’s La Femme D’argent that the director was obviously not allowed to include the track so decided to commission his own.
Presented in a nice 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, the film probably looks better than it ever did at the cinema, given the film’s low budget and the small amount of circulation the film received.
Presented in the film’s original 2.0 Dolby mix, the sound is adequate and contains the usual mono dialogue with occasional pans of car’s driving past etc. Anyone complaining about the lack of a 5.1 mix should be happy with the 2.0 mix as the film wouldn’t be enhanced with a 5.1 mix. The sound isn’t too extensive and wouldn’t be placed on the reference DVD shelf.
Making Of Featurette The making of featurette is approximately ten minutes in length and is a strangely edited short which is a mish-mash of behind the scenes shots and cast and crew interviews. What is strange is that the featurette contains no narration or presented.
Trailer Full marks to the editors of the trailer, as they make Risk appear to be a hip-high octane Australian thriller and it certainly must have disappointed cinema-goers who were delivered a mere Wall Street rip-off instead.
Risk is certainly not a bad film and is certainly not a classic. The DVD has good audio and visual qualities but is lacking in the extras department. This is clearly one to rent first.