Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan) is a reserved and laconic man. He is divorced from his wife, but loves his daughter Brittany (Chika Yasamura) very much and spends a lot of time with her. Ray also takes care of his brother Bruce (Nicholas Kassim), who suffers from a severe neurodegenerative disease. Ray has a close friend, Gary (Justin Rosniak). Gary occasionally gets into trouble – mainly through the fault of his bitchy United Statesn wife Tatiana (Lizzy Shebesta) and her fucked up relatives – and Ray gets him out of these troubles. At the same time, Ray knows perfectly well that if something happens to him, then Gary is the one on whom he can completely rely.
Ray is a very positive person. He’s ex-military, fought for his country, he earns money to support his ex-wife and give his daughter a good education, he doesn’t drink, hardly smokes and, in general, would be considered an excellent member of society, but Ray has one – the only drawback is his profession. Because he is a professional killer.
Ray works for Freddie’s nightclub owner (Damon Herriman): he does Freddie’s orders, and can also take on outside work. Ray is very independent, has his own specific code of honor and can refuse work if for some reason he considers it unethical.
At one time, Ray volunteered for the army and received good training there. He participated in the war, the state gave Ray various awards for killing people. And when Ray returned to civilian life, he decided that he would continue to kill people, since he really didn’t know how to do anything else. Yes, society will condemn him, he will no longer be awarded awards for such a state, but they pay very well for this, so why not?
The series originated from the 2005 Australian film I’m a Killer, written by Scott Ryan, who also directed the film and starred as professional hitman Ray Shoesmith. The film was produced and edited by Nash Edgerton. The film was low-budget (more precisely, almost budget-free), filmed in the style of “mockumentary” (that is, pseudo-documentary), it was made in ten days. The picture did not go to the rental, very few people saw it, but Australian critics noticed it and even nominated Ryan for a local award for best male role.
It looked like this then.
Thirteen years later, Ryan and Edgerton matured to turn this sketch film into a whole series about the life of a killer with clear life guidelines. Scott Ryan wrote and again played Ray Shoesmith, with Nash Edgerton serving as producer and director of all episodes.
They came up with something rather interesting. This is no longer mockumentary, but simply a slice of the life of a person working as a professional killer. As such, murders are quite rare here, the series is more about Ray’s ordinary life: how he communicates with his daughter, brother, friends, and, well, with his boss, whom, frankly, Ray does not really respect, but Freddie Ray himself frankly afraid.
The series clearly shows that Ray has a certain code of his own. He would never harm a woman or a child, and he despises people who would do such a thing. He also believes that if you are faced with outright cattle and scumbags, then the only reasonable way to communicate with them is a quick and brutal beating. Because there is no point in trying to negotiate with these people, they only understand force.
After one such incident, which happened in front of a witness, Ray was sent to special anger management courses – under threat of otherwise being sent to prison for beating a young bastard who was rude to Ray and his daughter as they walked peacefully down the street.
And Ray in these courses is surprised to find out that he is the only normal one there. He just broke the jaw of a bastard who doesn’t understand any words. And all the other participants in the courses raise their hands against their wives and beat their children.
Scott Ryan is excellent as Ray. He’s not your typical movie killer. A nice man with his own principles and somewhat gloomy humor. He loves his daughter and constantly messes with her. A reliable friend and often ready to risk his life to get a friend out of trouble or to take revenge on those who offended his friend.
At the same time, he is quite capable of fulfilling an order to kill his former army colleague, with whom he is on good terms. But there is nothing personal here: the order has arrived, the money is big, and, after all, this is his job.
And here, of course, there is a certain cognitive dissonance. Because the character is interesting, you closely follow what happens in his life, and even sympathize with him, you like it when he punishes all sorts of scum, and then he will take it and bang some quite worthy person simply because he he received an order. And Ray sees nothing wrong with that: well, he has such a job, yes. And his conscience will not torment him for this. However, any job has its drawbacks, as he tells the very former colleague whom he must kill.
There are some very colorful characters in the series. The most interesting of them – the very close friend of Ray Gary, played by Justin Rosniak. Gary in the series constantly gets into all sorts of troubles and periodically specifically rakes, but at the same time he himself is a rather cool man and acts very decisively in some episodes.
I really liked Ray’s romantic line with paramedic Ellie, played by Brooke Satchwell. Ellie does not know what Ray is doing, she cannot imagine that at the moment when she calls him with some kind of tenderness, Ray can calmly bury a corpse, into which he himself has just turned some poor fellow (or scoundrel – he comes across both those and others: it is not he who chooses the victim, but the customer). These relationships have no future, but it was interesting to follow how it all developed.
Well, the owner of the Freddie nightclub, played by the rather famous actor Damon Herriman, is also good. (By the way, he played Charles Manson in both the second season of Mindhunter and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.) Freddie has a very funny bicker with his model girlfriend and solves various problems with his numerous relatives.
I generally watched the first season, as they say, in one breath. The episodes are short, only thirty minutes long, so I watched two or three of them, although I usually don’t like to watch more than one episode at a time. But for me, the optimal format of the series is hourly. Half an hour, especially if it’s not about a sitcom or a comedy, is clearly not enough.
The finale of the first season was just great, this episode turned out to be the brightest of the entire season.
After the first season, I immediately sat down to watch the second, final season at the moment, in which, by the way, there are five episodes more than in the first season.
The second season, in my opinion, turned out to be clearly worse, but I still watched it in its entirety. There it was clear that the screenwriter (still the same Scott Ryan) had much fewer ideas and was somewhat staggering back and forth. The first season was very solid: it felt like you were watching a movie with a sequel, just broken into short parts.
In the second season, the format of the series became slightly fluid, with Ray’s more or less coherent story interspersed with separate episodes in which a certain case was being developed. Not all episodes were successful at the same time, but there were also quite bright ones, such as, for example, the episode when the little daughter of Ray’s friend was kidnapped from the store and Ray and Gary himself had very little time to find the kidnapper.
I also note that in the second season, especially at the beginning, there were several discouraging small plot lines that, in my opinion, could have been perfectly dispensed with, and besides, they ended up leading nowhere and just hung in the air (well and thank God, I will say, because I would not like these topics to develop at all).
Overall I enjoyed it, especially the first season. It’s worth watching, in my opinion. The second one is optional. I did not regret that I watched it, but it is somewhat inferior to the first season.
Decided / Mr Inbetween movie meaning
Director: Nash Edgerton Cast: Scott Ryan, Chika Yasamura, Damon Herriman, Justin Rosniak, Brooke Satchwell, Nicholas Kassim, Natalie Tran, Jed, Matthew Nable, Eddie Baru, Lizzie Shebesta
Series, Australia, 2018, 30 min. 1st season 6 episodes, 2nd season 11 episodes