Felony is a surprisingly compelling cop-drama-thriller written by its lead actor, Joel Edgerton. Highlighting both the good and bad sides of police work, Felony creates a spiralling series of events that drives the viewer to be committed to seeing how it all plays out.
Detective Mal Toohey (Edgerton) is a successful, commended cop, who while on the way back from a celebration over a successful bust the one evening accidentally hits a child on a bicycle, driving the 12 year old into a coma. When other policeman, including veteran detective Carl Summer (Wilkinsin) arrive on the scene, Mal lies instinctively, telling the police that he arrived on the scene and found the child like that.
From there, the film delves into the complex web of lies and guilt Mal feels over his crime, especially as he grows closer to the mother of the victim. Alongside this main setting are parallel plots involving other cases in the police department, and along the way, the concept of the code of brotherhood and silence between policemen is explored, as well as the idealism and cynicism that builds between different policemen.
One of the great successes of Felony is in terms of its realism, and all the actions taken by the cops in the line of duty feel very believable. Events are giving a thorough grounding in reality, which drives home just how possible the events of the film could be to all of us. Wilkinson and Edgerton both give great performances as well, although Wilkinson’s accent does slip a bit at times. Otherwise, the film is only really let down by a slightly messy final act. If you want a cop thriller with a bit more bite, consider renting this one.