Director: Matthew A. Brown
Starring: Ashley C. Williams, Tahyna Tozzi & Jack Noseworthy
Synopsis: A neo-noir revenge thriller centering on Julia Shames, who after suffering a brutal trauma, falls prey to an unorthodox form of therapy to restore herself
Rating: 18 Run time: 95 minutes Release date: 14 September (DVD)
Julia is very much like the film equivalent of a mirage. It looks great from a distance, but the closer you get, the more you realise there’s not actually anything there. What starts out as an interesting looking revenge thriller soon descends a nonsensical stab at the genre, which paints both men and women in a bad light.
We first meet Julia (Ashley C. Williams) as she is preparing for a date with the good looking, and seemingly rich, Piers (Ryan Cooper). What starts out innocently enough, with a few drinks at his apartment, soon turns into something quite sinister as Julia is drugged and then violently raped by Piers and three of his friends.
Julia is spared certain death by one of the friends; Adam (Brad Koed), who prevents Julia from drowning after the other friends leave her at the water’s edge to be washed away by the tide. Julia does not report the incident to the police, and instead struggles with the vicious incident and attempts to move on with her life.
After turning to drinking at her local bar, Julia happens across a group of women who have had similar experiences and know, ironically enough, of a man who can help her deal with the unseemly event that opens the film. One of the girls, Sadie (Tahyna Tozzi), introduces Julia to Dr. Sgundud (Jack Noseworthy) who empowers Julia with a sense of purpose, allowing her to become an altogether different woman.
Taken under the wing of Sadie, Julia goes from being a meek, innocent looking plastic surgeons assistant into a woman who lures sex hungry men back to her apartment to then do all kinds of horrific things to them. And as Dr. Sgundud reminds her on several occasions, Julia cannot make this personal, meaning she must not go after the very men who attacked her that fateful night.
One of the many problems with Julia is that the film makes little sense. So many questions are asked once the credits have rolled that it appears as if the director, Matthew A. Brown, continually lost focus here and lost sight of what he was trying to do. It’s genuinely difficult to make sense of some scenes, and the overall feel is one of confusion.
Julia soon becomes a wholly disorientating film, and while it shows some sparks of interest, it never endears itself to the audience. Julia is beautifully shot, and the violence is well represented; with one sequence that will surely have male viewers cringing. Yet, the positives are firmly outweighed by the negatives.
The film and its director, to their credit, attempt to handle a sensitive subject but succeed only as coming across as more of an exploitation film. Rather than raising genuine questions or making valid points, Julia feels more like an ill-conceived rape/revenge film that is provocative for all the wrong reasons.
In summary: Despite some nice touches, Julia lacks depth and doesn’t have enough going for it to stand out from other films of its type.