Dawn Patrol

dawn patrol
Directed by Daniel Petrie Jr.
Starring Scott Eastwood, Rita Wilson, Jeff Fahey and Kim Matula
Now on DVD and Digital Release

by Bernie C Byrnes

Billed as a thriller, Dawn Patrol fails to hit its brief. In fact, this film is actually pretty dreadful all round.

The story should work: its morals are in the right place – don’t shoot people, it’s a bad idea; revenge leads to more revenge and a crappy conscience; your parents don’t always know better – but it fails to pull it off. There is something altogether too self-consciously dramatic about this film, like a teenage-friendly mash-up of Hamlet crossed with a Greek Tragedy.

Ben, a surfer (and a pretty shitty guy), played with a pleasant amount of shirt off action by Chris Brochu is screwing his way around town. Being a louse to his messed up girlfriend Donna, played with a bit too much shirt and pants off action by Kim Matula, leads him to get his head blown off. His brother John (Scott Eastwood) takes revenge for Ben’s murder because his drunken father and trailer trash mom tell him they’ll think he’s a quitter if he doesn’t. From then on John’s life goes even further downhill from a not especially pleasant start point, all played out against a backdrop of the Iraq war and growing territorial tensions between the surfer dudes and the Mexicans. Sound good? I thought so. It certainly looks good – this film has some to-die-for shots of surfing, the California scenery and beautiful young guys and girls frolicking about in the sand – but it has a juvenile earnestness that mars it utterly.

Eastwood does a sterling job of handling the clunky script and acts his broody socks off. In fact the main cast all turn in passable performances despite some shonky support acting, pitiful stereotyping, and mediocre material. Director Daniel Petrie Jr.
very nearly makes a silk purse of this but even his sleight of hand with pelicans in flight can’t distract from the casual sexism and sanctimonious self-righteousness.

It a shame because as I said, its heart is in the right place but… My advice is to watch this one with the sound off.

Leave a Reply