Jacek Koman

'Son of a Gun' crime thriller misfires

'Son of a Gun' crime thriller misfires

"Son of a Gun" is a derivative crime thriller that sputters when it should propel, skims when it should probe. Although first-time feature writer-director Julius Avery may aspire to become a sort of Aussie Michael Mann — and perhaps lays an apt foundation here to do so — he has a ways to go in developing the kind of characters and world we can solidly invest in.

J.R. (Brenton Thwaites) is a naively game 19-year-old who lands in a rough Western Australia prison for an unnamed offense. By the time he's released six months later, he's made a devil's pact with fellow convict Brendan (an ill-fitting Ewan McGregor), a violent career criminal who has protected J.R....