Streamline brings us a captivating exploration of self-destruction; Jason Isaacs and Levi Miller team up in this emotionally charged tale of a young boy on the verge of sporting greatness only for his just released from prison father to disturb his equilibrium.
Just as our main character is, we are submerged into the idyllic setting of nature. Grey and green tones consume the screen in a dreamy manner only to be immediately interrupted by the familiar sound of an Apple alarm tone. The harsh reality of a 15-year-old boy trying to make it as a pro swimmer; non-stop early mornings come rain or shine, then a full day of school. The familiar sight of cupping bruises down his back and a toned physique insinuates the fact this boy is dedicated yet; it seems rest is in order before some life changing trails if he is going to fight his body’s state of fatigue. Marry that with the physiological damage of a father trying to rekindle a broken relationship, Streamline brings us an emotionally charged tale that sends shivers every now and then.
Even though it seems his mother means well, there is a sense that there is a lot riding on this, the pressure her and his coach put on this teenager is unbelievable. Anyone who has competed in professional sport can relate to the harsh conditions you put your body through, capturing the sporting aspect to a T. Alongside the severe reality of training for the Olympics, the pep talks and emotion toll it takes can almost surpass the physical aspect. When his estranged father approaches him before a swim meet, the toll this takes on this boy is devasting, albeit not as heart-breaking as the one it will take if he hangs up his towel for good.
Writer, director Tyson Wade Johnston’s hits all the right notes with this debut feature film. The sheer intensity of virtually all cast members on screen is a testament to his direction; you physically feel the awkwardness between Ben and his father’s initial exchange. Isaacs brings his all with an impeccable Aussie accent, making it a shame we don’t get to see more of him, but the true star here is Levi Miller. His character is written with utter care and he brings his A-game to match. The reverse psychology used on this boy is out right criminal; hitting a nerve, causing Ben to rebel and ultimately only finding a quick high on the road of corruption imposed on his by his brothers. An unhealthy and highly disruptive environment that comes crashing down around him.
Above all else, Streamline offers that thrill of adrenaline felt by all viewers, providing solace to our inner athletes. Johnston provides us with an intelligent delve into not just the competitive sport industry, but the immense mental toll it takes to push through fighting the world around you to get to where you want to be.