Fantastic Fest 2012
By Don Simpson | September 22, 2012
Director: Amiel Courtin-Wilson
Starring: Daniel P. Jones, Leanne Campbell
What is it with Australians and gritty neo-realist working class dramas? The world of Hail is pure hell (or, with certain accents, “hail”) on earth. It is clearly Danny’s (Daniel P. Jones) past that puts him in this [his] place. Released from prison at the beginning of the film, Danny returns home to his girlfriend Leanne (Leanne Campbell). With no legitimate career to call his own, or even a resume, Danny takes a job as a lackey at a garage. Unfortunately, fate (or society) deems that Danny cannot live the straight and narrow for very long; he is a naturally angry and violent man whose only solace in life is Leanne. That leads us to wonder: what would happen if he loses Leanne? We can only assume that all hell will break loose…
Hail is a brilliant meditation on Danny’s inability to break free from his economic class due to societal restraints. As an uneducated ex-con, Danny is destined to live a hellish existence. Life will never be easy for him. Daniel P. Jones’ performance as Danny is astounding. This is a semi-autobiographical tale of Jones’ life, so we can only assume that there is a very fine line between Danny the character and Jones the actor, making this one of the most chillingly authentic performances I have ever seen. The brutal realism is accented magnificently by experimental visual flourishes courtesy of cinematographer Germain McMicking. Hail is certainly not an enjoyable experience, but it is a transfixing experience nonetheless.