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quietearth [Celluloid 08.04.09] movie review drama



Year: 2009
Directors: Glendyn Ivin
Writers: Mac Gudgeon
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 7.9 out of 10

When I asked my friend down under if there was a name for this wave of top notch gritty thrillers coming out of Australia he answered "Australian films are mostly always gritty thrillers which has become the definition of Australian film!". I'm not going to bother listing all the great films we've covered from Kangaroo land, but suffice it to say, I think this new wave certainly does need a name. Now if only I could think of one. And speaking of kangaroos, I'd love to see Vitali Klitschko go up against one.

Last Ride is not going to hit you over the head with a larger than life personality featured in some of the most loved, and biggest films. In fact, it does the opposite. It starts softly and continues slowly, never crossing ground into car chases or ridiculous action as the title might suggest, but shines as a poignant, and touching, realistic drama where the "gritty thriller" serves as a backdrop to a troubled father and son relationship.


From the title, we already know where the film is headed, and after the first scene of the boy missing a shot on a rabbit, the tone has already been set. The boy is Chook, Kev's (Hugo Weaving) son. They're "travelling", but we don't know why, it just has a sense of secrecy shrouding it. Oh, and they keep stealing cars too. The father, scraggly and half-emaciated, has been in prison, and we take him for a likeable degenerate even when abusive to his young son. We can see a dichotomy between the son and his fascinating exploration of childhood, which is what Kev might have been, and the father imprisoned by his own life experience, the visage of what Chook might become. Chook tries to do good, but is already stealing small things and is encouraged by his father. Kev, recognising what's right, is imprisoned in his past and finds things like stealing trivial.

While travelling, they encounter their past revealing bits of their lives, but still not giving away why they are on the lam. Kev is charismatic which helps in many situations, but to counterpoint, his temper hurts them equally. He leaves his son to go to a bar, only to get into a fight over nothing, waking up the next morning bruised with Chook still at their hideout. We know the pair truly love each other, but the difficulties between them is part of the crux of the story. It represents what simultaneously could be limitless possibilities, and what could be, the last ride.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser does a great job in capturing the beautiful Australian vistas and the personal parts of the film, especially as Chook explores the limited world available to him. He gives this a tangible dreamy quality in contrast to Kev who is merciless, but has a heart of gold. Contrast is a running theme in the film and at times it's bipolar in it's interchange.

This is a great film, all around excellently acted, shot, and directed and will certainly go on to enjoy distribution in many territories. It will also provide a new view of Hugo Weaving, whose acting is superb, to the mass audience who've only seen him in big genre film. The only problem I would have is that Last Ride somewhat slow, and at times, dwells too much on a point we've already got, but I definitely recommend this film.

Last Ride has already been released in Australia and will have it's international premier at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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Wednesday (10 years ago) Reply

I am dying to see this film, but despair of it being distributed in the States. I hope to buy it on DVD.

Every Australian film I've seen has moved a bit too slow for my liking, lingering over details - visual and otherwise - that are already clear. I guess in that way it's a bit like real life.

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thecoldwar (10 years ago) Reply

"Dystaussia"


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