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Last Cab to Darwin - Film Review

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published July 29th 2015
The vast outback opens up in this strange quest
There is a new Australian film that is well worth the price of a movie ticket. Last Cab to Darwin stars legendary actors Michael Caton (The Castle, Packed to the Rafters) and veteran Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook, Animal Kingdom). Directed by Jeremy Sims, the film has had quite an incubation period of seven years, but audiences can look forward to seeing it from August 6th.

Last Cab to Darwin
Last Cab to Darwin

It tells the story of Rex who has lived in Broken Hill all his life and works as a cabbie. He is a bit of a loner, but loves his dog, named dog and seems quite fond of his neighbour across the street. He is a man who has lived life on his own terms and when he finds out he is dying is no different. The film tracks him setting off for Darwin in his cab, to see a euthanasia campaigner to end his life. Based on real life events from two decades ago.

Last Cab to Darwin
Last Cab to Darwin

This is a road movie with an aching heart. There is the pulsing red heart of Australia opening up its harsh realities. There is the dead feral cat tree, which is a postcard feature, to the local pubs and outback characters along the way. Rex joins up with some unlikely allies in a larrikin indigenous footballer Tilly and an English barmaid/nurse Julie.

This is a road movie with an aching heart.
This is a road movie with an aching heart.

The film manages to balance the somber scenes with the dry and laconic humour of its characters. The outback is shown as wide-open territory, which can often be hostile and isolating. There is a lot here about running away to find yourself. Rex argues with his passenger Tilly 'I won't tell you how to live your life, if you don't tell me how to live mine.' They are an unlikely pair.

Movie opens on August 6th.
Movie opens on August 6th.

The subject of dying is confronting. As Woody Allen says 'I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens'. Rex knows his time is running out, he thinks he has the plan for dying worked out and laments 'I never believed in anything before this'. However things are not as black and white as he hoped. There are second thoughts and second chances, but you will have to go on this journey with Rex to find out if he finds what he is looking for.

Last Cab to Darwin
Last Cab to Darwin

Last Cab to Darwin is based on the award winning play by Reg Cribb and tells the true story of Broken Hill taxi driver Max Bell and the journey he undertakes across Australia to Darwin. The film does not get bogged down in sentimentality or cheap sensationalism. It has real and charming people, lonely and battered people and that big landscape that is always majestic and brutal.

Last Cab to Darwin
Last Cab to Darwin

This is mature filmmaking with a sure hand. Great scripting and authentic acting bring this story to life. Our country has wild and strange places with unique stories worth telling. This road trip is on my bucket list, but I'm hoping I won't have to be dying to take the plunge into the vast outback.
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Why? A real gem of a film.
When: In cinemas from August 6th, 2015
Your Comment
It's a beautiful movie, saw it twice already. I would go and see it again.
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|389) 1267 days ago
Congrats on the big 250!
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4061) 1267 days ago
fabulous article Jenny, I am looking forward to seeing this movie
by Paula McManus (score: 3|3131) 1268 days ago
Thanks for the write up Jenny. The storyline and actors combine to put it on the viewing list.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4061) 1267 days ago
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