On the surface, Australian actor Matthew Nable's directorial debut, Transfusion, explores the plight of ex-servicemen who find it difficult to assimilate into a society that operates in a different status quo and gives in to more cruel and desperate measures. But the bedrock of its melancholy narrative remains strong thanks to its somewhat subtle depiction of dysfunctional masculinity and the need for a conversation about mental health and fatherhood. Sam Worthington stars, Ryan Logan, a former SAS soldier, and Matt Nable himself plays Ryan's commanding officer, Johnny. The director's inspiration for this theme is introspective. By his own admission, Matt's father spent two decades of his life in the military, and his experience of seeing firsthand the impact of life in and out of the field on military personnel motivated him to work on the issue.
Synopsis for "Transfusion": What happens in the film?
The film's opening scene begins in Iraq, and we are introduced to an SAS sniper, Ryan Logan, who takes down multiple terrorist threats when the force enters an enemy bunker. In the bunker, Ryan is injured and his commanding officer, Johnny, reassures him that he will survive. Reminiscent of the attack scene from Zero Dark Thirty, the sequence acts as a prologue to the narrative, suggesting the camaraderie between Johnny and Ryan.
The next scene leads a few years later to Ryan's house, where he lives a happy married life with his ex-wife Justine and their son Billy and the couple is expecting another child. The film alternately jumps through two different timelines of the past and present. Ryan goes camping with his son Billy, who seems to look up to his father. After Ryan asks Billy to shoot a deer as part of his training, Billy nervously declines, realizing he's not up to the task. Ryan shoots the deer instead. Later, Billy ventures into the desert alone and finds a lost puppy. As he pets the puppy, an adult dog appears and attacks Billy. Terrified, he calls his father, only to find that his father shot the dog. This incident will later have a significant impact on Billy's psyche. However, when they return home, Billy asks Ryan if he can be as brave as he is. Ryan replies that refusing to shoot the deer, even if it meant abandoning his father, was an act of bravery in and of itself.
Tragedy strikes when Justine and Billy are involved in a horrific accident resulting in the deaths of Justine and the stillborn baby. The narrative jumps forward six years when we learn that Ryan had to leave the army to take care of his son. However, his struggle for family support saw him and Billy move across Australia, and things took a turn for the worse after the now-adolescent Billy made the rounds in court on several juvenile delinquency cases. The scene begins with a hearing where the federal judge warns them to help Billy keep a reputable profile or Ryan will lose custody of him. Ryan himself suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and has occasional hallucinations of his late wife Justine. He also faces pressure from private school boards for late fees. In a critical situation like this, Ryan meets up with his former commander, Johnny, who is visiting his hometown.
Johnny offers to help Ryan with his dirty jobs to make a quick buck. Hesitant at first, Ryan finally agrees to accept her proposal after being cornered by more problems in his professional life. The two rob a drug dealer's hideout (they are Johnny's friends) and narrowly escape after Johnny kills an informant. Ryan is fired from his job as a sales representative after a case of misconduct. Meanwhile, Billy makes new friends after telling them his father's war stories, which he learned from Johnny. Ryan can't help but help Johnny in his criminal pursuits while relying on Justine's insight as an advisor. Continuing the ongoing series of mishaps, Billy manages to overturn one of his friend's cars during a bout of drunken bravado. Ryan finds out about the incident and burns the car to prevent Billy from being arrested and eventually separated from him in order to dispose of the evidence.
The owner of the car, Billy's friend's father, meets with Ryan and considers telling the authorities the truth. Ryan stops him and guarantees him financial compensation. Desperate, Ryan asks Johnny for a hefty bill to pay for living expenses. Johnny lures the drug dealers and Ryan kills them by shooting them. To his surprise, the dealers had backup mercenaries on the way, who then engaged Ryan in a firefight. Ryan shoots them all and returns home terrified. The next day, he approaches the owner of the car and, after telling him the value, threatens to stop blackmailing him any further. Fearing more trouble, Ryan asks Billy to move out again. Billy's insecurity overwhelms him as he gets into a heated argument, saying he is leaving the house on purpose because he feels his father doesn't want him, that his mother should be alive in his place. Angry and desperate, Ryan almost raises his hand at his son, but stops himself.
In a flashback, it is revealed that a drunk driver's insensitivity was the reason for Justine's fatal accident in the first place. After the accident, Ryan was forced to choose between Justine and Billy as they were both bleeding and their rare antigens made it impossible to save both. After learning about the drunk driver incident, Johnny killed him in revenge.
In the current timeline, Johnny is depressed into a state of cocaine intoxication when a mercenary ambushes him in his room. After killing the attacker, a terrified Johnny goes to Ryan's house for help. After a brief fight between the two, a seemingly despondent Johnny pretends to make amends, only to surprise Ryan in a scuffle. He holds Ryan at gunpoint and nearly shoots him before Billy kills him with the same rifle he was reluctant to use growing up. Towards the end of the film we see the bond between father and son during the driving lessons and are finally able to share their thoughts.
The end of "Transfusion" explained: How was the father-son relationship settled?
The father-son relationship essentially exemplifies the dysfunctional and authoritarian machismo subtly explored throughout the film. The first scene Billy and Ryan share is about hunting and then killing, something that makes the brave feeling in young Billy's mind. Though her father later commends her courage in standing up for herself, her impressionable spirit prioritizes her earlier example. This destructive male ego contributes to Billy's lack of confidence as he often feels less than ideal after being caught up in a series of mishaps. He wraps up further as he sees him flaunt his war hero father and inserts him lighter than he could ever be. In addition, he was triggered by such an ego trip when driving while drunk, although he should have been careful with his actions after repeated warnings from the courts. This man madness also catches Ryan and Johnny willingly accepts it. Johnny's presence and involvement in the past exacerbates Ryan's bruised ego, and the deep despair and anguish, combined with his deteriorating financial and social situation, pushes him to the brink of one horrific crime after another.
The psychological situation is addressed appropriately and without exaggeration, which in turn focuses on the parent-child dynamic. After the death of his wife, Ryan's wartime post-traumatic stress disorder worsens and the total lack of healthy emotional communication with his son takes its toll. Also in Billy's case, the lack of a shoulder to lean on and the inability to communicate with his father puts the poor boy at risk as he continues to find himself drawn into difficult situations against his will. However, the searing pain of being severed from his emotional core can be seen in Johnny, who Ryan would have become had it not been for the vision of his dead wife, who acts as his moral guide. Johnny appears to be his usual tough, gullible boss, used to getting rid of "family baggage", but the loneliness caused by being abandoned is evident in his private moments of drunken delirium. Trained to be violent, these men found themselves emotionally unavailable due to previous occupations or parenting issues. At the end of the film, Billy uses the same gun to save Ryan, almost mirroring the scene from his childhood when he was saved by his father. It's not cathartic, however, as that very act instilled in his young mind a misguided sense of entitlement not to be responsible for his actions, but this time it allows him to connect with his father as he did in his mind, ie some. . "heroic." At the same time, they finally open up and claim that they broke their bond in the first place. So the story of violence really doesn't have a dignified ending and feels ongoing in the Logans' lives, but at least it's brought them closer together to accept each other for who they are.
“Transfusion” is a 2023 action thriller film directed by Matt Nable.
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