‘outlaws’ Review: Uneasy Riders. - The New York Times
Reveling in abundant displays of toxic masculinity and pumped-up posing, the Australian biker drama “Outlaws” is a punishing watch — more so when you can decipher the dialogue. Between the thick Aussie cadences and the tight-lipped, tough-guy delivery, I found myself paying closer attention to body language than a couple on a first date.
Here’s what I gleaned, but don’t hold me to it. The nastiest piece of work (the designation is entirely relative) is Knuck (Matt Nable), the newly sprung president of a motorcycle gang whose stint in the slammer has left him with a taste for rape and a bloodthirsty need to reclaim his territory. His smarter deputy — again, relative — Paddo (Ryan Corr), has set up a mutually beneficial money-laundering deal with a rival gang, threatening Knuck’s supremacy. And because few things are more volatile than an emasculated thug, we guess it won’t be long before mattresses and ammunition are at the top of everyone’s shopping list.
Directing his first feature (from a screenplay by Nable), Stephen McCallum fashions an unremittingly vicious, leather-and-ink slugfest whose women are just as distasteful as its men. The movie’s misogyny is baked into its stereotypes — like the decorative, viperish enabler and the drug-dependent plaything — unmitigated by a late power flip that feels tacked on. Also problematic is Mark’s simple-minded brother (Josh McConville), whose persistent screw-ups precipitate much of the violence, yet whose character remains no more than a sketch.
Oppressively mirthless, “Outlaws” can nevertheless be enjoyed, after a fashion, as a surreal tapestry of macho garbling.
“Rules! (Mumble-mumble),” goes an early exchange. “Bitches! (Mumble-snort-sneer).” Well, quite.