First-time director Stephan Elliott breaks a lot of the rules with his wayward first feature, Frauds, cheerfully mixing suspense with comic-strip comedy. Pic boasts a top-flight performance from Phil Collins as a con-man insurance investigator with a childlike sense of humor.
The home of a yuppie couple, Jonathan (Hugo Weaving) and Beth (Josephine Byrnes), who like to play games, is burgled by a masked intruder; Beth shoots the stranger with an antique crossbow only to discover that he was a family friend.
Roland Copping (Collins) discovers that Jonathan was the burglar’s accomplice and proceeds to play games with the couple, who are at first amused, then annoyed, and finally terrified by his strange, childish antics.
Elliott flings these disparate elements together with sublime confidence, driving the film along at a brisk pace and creating a strange and deliberately unreal world for his eccentric characters. He’s aided by the clever production design of Brian Thomson and by Geoff Burton’s sterling lensing.