Teenagers run wild but a lack of authenticity soon catches up with “West,” a well-lensed but poorly scripted cautionary tale about booze, drugs, sex and violence in Sydney’s outer suburbs. Feature bow by Daniel Krige strives for confrontational realism and casual violence but fails to overcome the slick veneer of its visual imagery or the paucity of its content. Pic may do low-level biz as a teen exploitation pic during June local release.
Practical but untrustworthy Jerry (Nathan Phillips) and “slow on the uptake” part-time drug dealer Pete (Khan Chittenden) are cousins and have been rebellious mates since childhood. Selling Pete down the river for the umpteenth time, Jerry takes up with the mutually tempting Cheryl (Gillian Alexy) leaving Pete to take a beating from a local thug. As Jerry suddenly shows unbelievable signs of wanting to settle down, Pete’s paranoia and instability increases in direct relation to his drug intake. Characterizations fail to convince, but Chittenden maintains a likeable persona despite being embroiled in reprehensible activities. Sleek lensing by Damian Wyvill is an odd choice for a pic aiming to depict gritty truths. Other tech credits are pro.