CRIME DRAMA; 1hr 44min
STARRING: Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne, Matt Le Nevez
Sitting pretty: Weaving and Byrne
As elegant as an etching, The Tender Hook is set in the hot-to-trot Jazz Age of 1920s Sydney. From the opening shot, its sleek lines bristle with the promising menace of a coldly patrician performance from Hugo Weaving as shady heavyweight McHeath. An underlying sexual tension plays out in tandem, strung tight between Rose Byrne as McHeath’s lovely, flighty, coke-snorting girl, Iris, and Matt Le Nevez as studly boxer Art, who McHeath foolishly takes under his predatory wing.
McHeath is a seething thug in a silvertail suit. Iris, chafing in his smothering grip, has a conniving and nasty streak herself. But is she conniving enough to wriggle out from under? That would be telling — and lord knows, there’s not a lot more to reveal. Byrne is a creamy cameo with her dark eyes and moody little mouth, but neither she nor the silky period style (brought to life with contemporary pep by writer-director Jonathan Ogilvie) are enough to pack some meat on the storyline’s slim pickings.