Prove your humanity

1% is an Australian action-drama directed by Australian Film, Television and Radio School graduate Stephan McCallum. The film follows the vice-president of the Copperheads Motorcycle Club, Paddo (played by Ryan Corr). His pursuit to overthrow the club president, Knack (Matt Nables—who also wrote the screenplay) ultimately tests his allegiance to the club and to his family.

If you’re wondering about the title (like I was) ‘1%’ refers to a statement made by the American Motorcycle Association about the motorcycle clubs who operate outside of the law—the other 99% being law-abiding citizens.

Funded by Screenwest, 1% was also filmed in Perth—the opening scene is the Copperheads riding through the Graham Farmer Freeway, as they exit the camera pans up and if you’re quick you can quickly read the “Loftus St Exit” sign. Watching as a local can be pretty funny, sometimes made funnier by the volatile tone of the film.

Exploring zeitgeist representations—like toxic masculinity, redefining the femme fatale, transgressive sexualities and disability—1% is a deeply political film, yet never feels didactic.

The plot also makes some very pronounced literary references. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the main romantic subplot between Paddo and Katrina (played by rising star Abbey Lee) is driven by manipulation and power. Likewise, the relationship between Paddo and his mentally disabled brother, Skink, is strongly reminiscent to that of George and Lennie in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. It’s strange to consider that these references are made to the backdrop of an outlaw motorcycle club—but it works a treat!

Corr gives a standout performance as the conflicted Paddo—a guy just trying to do the right thing by everyone else in a world that belongs to the outlaws. Just as impressive is the way he transformed his body for this role; no longer the sweetheart of Australian children’s television, starring in classics such as The Silver Sun, Blue Water High and The Sleepover Club, Corr sports a muscular physique covered in ink.

The cinematography of Shelley Farthing-Dawe is also a highlight. Using intense neon’s, fire-light and the grey light of day to convey the toxic atmosphere of the club.

Explicitly violent at times, 1% is not for the faint-hearted, but for those of you who enjoy a good action film, you will not be disappointed. The film will leave you on the tip of your seat, right until the end. With its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, it’s always nice to know that Australian cinema is doing well internationally, as well as on our own soil. And hey, while you’re watching why not play a game of Perth-landmark bingo?


1% is showing at selected Luna cinemas now.