Risk (2000) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Risk (2000) is an Australian made crime noir about a trio working to defraud an insurance company by paying fraudulent claims. Bryan Brown is a senior claims adjuster and leader of the scheme. Tom Long is a recent graduate and new adjuster in training, who has a personality trait that would normally cost him the job, but, in this case, is exactly what Brown needs. Long cares about the victims, and has the sympathetic face and manor to convey that to the victims. The third is Claudia Karvan, who is an attorney, and bed mate of Brown.
The scam is simple and believable. Long is given the disputed claims to settle out of court. He convinces the victims that they would be better off settling for 80% of what they are asking, than going to court and paying more than the 20% to lawyers. Brown then settles for 90%, and uses the 10% to settle fraudulent claims handled by Karvan, who stages accidents, and represents the supposed victims.


We see Long's breasts in two lovemaking scenes with Long, get several shots of her in a bra, and one scene of her in a bikini.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen

  • brief cast interviews

When Long figures out what is going on and wants to bow out, Brown convinces Karvan to keep him entertained and happy. When Karvan starts sleeping with Long, and gets greedy and tries to escalate the scan, the plot really thickens. Karvan, known for The Big Steal, The Heartbreak Kid, Paperback Hero nailed the part, and obviously enjoyed playing a bad girl. Brown was superb in the role. I enjoyed it.

To tell you the truth, I though the film was pretty good, but not exceptional:

On the plus side:

  • the photography was stunning and creative for a movie that basically took place in office buildings and people's houses. It manages to make the city a character in the film, dwarfing the characters with its size and complexity, yet claustrophobically small in some ways, with tiny back alleys and winding narrow streets.
  • the performances were good
  • the film starts out without letting on that it's a film about scams. It seems to be a character-based study of the insurance business, and you form an opinion about where it is going. Therefore, it catches you off your guard when it starts to go somewhere else. It does the same thing when you form an opinion about who the patsy is.

On the negative side:

  • there were a couple of things I simply didn't understand. For example, why did the female lawyer take the kid swimming in somebody's private pool and thus get him in trouble? Just to goof on him? I didn't "get" that scene at all.
  • I also don't understand why the two main conspirators started having frank and illegal discussions in front of the kid before they knew they could trust him. This led me to believe that they were conning him by letting him think he was in on the con, in order to use him later as a patsy. But based on later events, that didn't seem to be the case.
  • there were far too many illustrations of his ability to adjust heart-rending cases. I think there were five such cases shown in some detail, replete with heartfelt speeches from the injured and aggrieved. This kept up long after the point was made.
  • there were some loose threads in an uneconomically developed plot. The kid had a rival in the young adjuster world who was moving up much faster. The plot introduced him in a way that made him seem integral, then simply dropped him.

The Critics Vote

  • BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. (Scoop: that may be right, but I think it's more like a C. Not a great genre film, but a solid one.)

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