100 Bloody Acres Plays Like a Down Under Elmore Leonard Novel

"We're not psychos, all right?" says Reg as he gags a woman with duct tape. "We're small business operators." That line suggests a satirical intent behind the Australian comedy-thriller 100 Bloody Acres. Reg and his hulk of a boss proceed to talk business while they prep a car accident victim for an industrial grinder, all to get a better pH balance for their roadkill-based fertilizer operation. Damon Herriman, best known stateside as the hapless crook Dewey Crowe on Justified, doesn't stray far from type here; as Reg, he makes many dim-witted decisions, most notably picking up a trio of hitchhikers while he's got a fresh corpse in the back of his truck. His boss is his elder brother, Lindsay, whom Angus Sampson plays with relaxed menace; it's clear he's terrorized squirrelly Reg all his life. That small-business satire is just topsoil, though, as most of the movie is preoccupied with the play-by-play of dumb crooks versus victims who are their own worst chance at survival. (One, Jamie Kristian, is out of his mind on acid; the other two, Anna McGahan and Oliver Ackland, get preoccupied by their own romantic difficulties.) Playing like a Down Under Elmore Leonard novel, 100 Bloody Acres features lucky breaks and quick reverses; a persistent soundtrack of Aussie oldies helps keep the mood cheery, despite a literal vatful of blood.

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