The Underbelly phenomenon continues and gives the criminal
underworld a glitzy makeover that glamorises the men and women
involved. Money? Gorgeous Women? Sex? Power? Apparently that’s what
you get when you’re a clever criminal. Unlike previous instalments,
Underbelly Squizzy is set in the 1920’s and revolves around a
Melbourne gangster named Leslie “Squizzy” Taylor (Jared Daperis) who
almost held Melbourne at ransom by his deadly crime spree. This is
the story of Squizzy from beginning to finish that takes the viewer
on his sordid journey.
Joining newcomer Jared Daperis is Dayn Wylie who plays Detective
Frederick Piggot, the polar opposite of our gangster plus a wealth
of love interests for Squizzy such as Camile Keenan (Dolly Grey) his
first love and Elise Jansen (Lorna Kelly), an innocent waitress who
falls for his charms. Like the other stories from the Underbelly
franchise, nudity and sex play a key component to install a type of
titillation to the shock factor of the criminal characters.
Unfortunately it’s being overused and the creators of Underbelly
need to try a different angle.
The biggest issue I had with Squizzy was the artsy almost Baz
Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby) type atmosphere to the camera work,
especially with the use of freeze frames and captions that actually
felt a tad childish. Another glaring problem was the acting which
did seem too forced and contrived, especially the main character
himself who was very difficult to relate with. At some stages in the
episodes, the dialogue was almost laughable, especially near the
near the end. Something just felt off from the get go.
The DVD quality is exceptional for Squizzy but due to the glitzy
nature of the production, it does look like it was filmed today
opposed to the BBC series Ripper which does a great job at
recreating 19th century England. Nonetheless, it boasts
sharp images, vibrant colours and no errors whatsoever. Audio is
equally as impressive thanks to the Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation.
the end, Underbelly Squizzy fails to live up some of the previous
Underbelly instalments. It successfully manages to glamorise a cheap
thug, thief, murderer and coward. Squizzy and his colleagues were no
heroes. Even with this glitziness going on in the background, the
violence is over the top as is the nudity and sex that seems to have
been thrown in for the sake of it. It’s like soft-core porn meets