Set in a world of motorcycle gangs, violence and crime, 1% brings us a character driven tale of loyalty, family, betrayal, and personal struggle. This unconventional crime genre film never actually shows us the criminal activity the Copperheads Motorcycle Club is involved in, though we know that they are raking in a profit that must be concealed. Taking notes from numerous Shakespearean tragedies, this drama is both shocking, destructive, and fateful.
Through its use of cinematography, director Stephen McCallum gives us a unique perspective by allowing the camera to act as another person in the room. Moving unconventionally, the camera is not always steady and, as a result, give us a more documentary-like feel.
Although this is a character driven film, we don’t always get a complete background on certain characters, which adds an element of mystery to a cast of multi-dimensional characters. It’s almost as if the writer (Matt Nable) is trying to teach us a different existential lesson with each individual character.
Knuck (Matt Nable) is the quintessential motorcycle club president. He is an angry, violent, and gritty character who takes no non-sense from anyone. Knuck feels as though his authority has been threatened during his absence in jail. While also dealing with the new struggle with his sexuality, his conflicting emotions manifest themselves in a violent manner. Knuck shows us the difficulty and even shame and embarrassment that can come along with hiding a part of yourself and not feeling as though you will be accepted in your social circle.
Paddo (Ryan Corr) has a deep and violent past and is largely involved in Copperheads as vice president. However, we also see an extremely loving side of him in his relationship with his girlfriend, Katrina (Abbey Lee), and his brother, Skink (Josh McConville), who is another member of Copperheads and has a developmental delay. Paddo lives to take care of the people he loves most. He poses the question of ‘how far are you willing to go to save your family’?
During Knuck’s stay in prison, Paddo steps in as acting president of Copperheads and attempts to take the club in a different direction, causing tension upon Knuck’s return. Paddo and Katrina both play an intricate game of chess in their desire to control the club and how they should handle Knuck’s return and ultimate disinterest in their plan. Katrina, specifically, is always striving to secure her stake in the club. She is always looking forward and ensuring that every move she makes (or Paddo makes) will take them one step closer to their end goal.
Katrina, as well as Knuck’s wife, Hayley (Simone Kessell), are both very strong female characters that are almost the brains behind their boys. In a male dominated club, these females could easily have been lost in the story. Instead, there was significant intention behind the placement of these women, and a spotlight placed on them.
This film, although unconventional in its genre, is very smart and intentional. Writer, Matt Nable, and director, Stephen McCallum, knew what they wanted to say and executed it well. A cast of incredible actors rounded out this vision.
My recommendation for this movie is not to go into it with a violent action movie mindset. Be prepared to think, absorb, and be driven by the complex emotional turmoil.
To stream audio of my interview with Ryan Cord and Abbey Lee, click here.
To stream audio of my interview with Matt Nable and Stephen McCallum, click here.