Review / ‘Bad Girl’ (MA) **

THIS is the first live-action feature by writer/director Fin Edquist whose career in the moving-images industry has hitherto been mainly in Australian TV series and animated features.

I wish I could be more positive about “Bad Girl”. But it aims at a mark then fails to connect with it. Screenplay and execution combine to let it down, dragging its other attributes with it.

It’s a thriller with violence involving two teenaged girls rebelling against conformity. Nothing new, nor particularly wrong, about a film that does that. But it doesn’t give itself a chance to make the best of a basically manageable plot.

Sara West plays Amy, adopted daughter of realtor Peter (Benjamin Winspear) and Michelle (Felicity Price). Amy, on parole from juvenile detention, comes to the rural house that the family is occupying while Peter tries to sell it for its investor owner. She’s bored, resentful, rude and disobedient.

Blonde, blue-eyed Chloe (Samara Weaving, niece of Hugo and daughter of Simon) arrives unannounced offering to clean the house. Amy finds her somebody she can relate to. Ere long, the pair is behaving badly. Amy’s clumsy attempt to seduce Chloe doesn’t work well.

Peter and Michelle aren’t effective as parents. Chloe’s origins are less clear.

As the film flounders along looking for a path to resolution, its audience might validly ask, why do its authority figures fail to ask the right questions or respond rationally to its exigent issues? Regrettably, the screenplay denies them those comforts, thereby dragging “Bad Girl” to an outcome that for unwavering contrivance is up there with the best.

At Capitol 6

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