This is a curious indie-thriller that mimics the suburban crime sprawl of Animal Kingdom, and other Australian hits, but with less of the scope or budget to match. Arriving in the UK after a streak of awards at various independent festivals, Concealed never quite outsizes the claustrophobic confines of its setting, or the limits of its familiar script.
Writer and director Shane T Hall’s film tracks the increasingly desperate efforts of Max (Simon Lyndon), and his best friend Richard (Paul Tassone), to find Sallie, Max’s girlfriend who has vanished without a trace. Their desultory search pulls them into the underbelly of Sydney’s inner city suburbs, and brings them both closer to different home truths.
The chill of quiet suburbia has been well-mined by Australian filmmakers in the past – not just for crime outings like Animal Kingdom, but also classics such as Lantana. Shane T Hall avoids some of the clichéd trappings of the genre with his life-like dialogue, not to mention the tacit strength of Simon Lyndon’s performance – steely and nervy all at once, he’s in almost every frame and truly anchors the film. Unfortunately, both are treading familiar ground, and the movie’s low budget lends it an amateur aesthetic that wants to reflect the cement garden-look of inner Sydney, but largely just makes the city look washed out. While the director plays his cards tactfully, peeling back the layers of mystery as we reach closer into his protagonist’s mind, there are too many often encountered, creaky beats that echo thrillers in which we have seen these tropes pulled off more successfully in the past. Stylish and authentic, but ultimately hollow, Concealed is a slight disappointment – though it bodes well for Hall and Lyndon’s next, more established efforts.
Concealed is released in select cinemas on 1st June 2018
Watch the trailer for Concealed here: