Jul 20, 2009

Last Ride

2009 is proving to be an outstanding year for Australian film. Now you can add Last Ride to the list of cinema success stories. This superb film is powerful and evocative, with two central performances that will simply blow you away. Director Glendyn Ivin has produced spectacular results with his feature film debut. The film, based on Denise Young's novel, his handled with tender care. Leaving the viewer richly rewarded for their time.

Last Ride begins with a man on the run, played by Hugo Weaving. His ten year old son Chook (Tom Russell) is with him. The father is an habitual crim, having had several stints in jail. In time, we slowly learn of the crime he has committed. The boy is unsure of the extent of the crime, but has no choice but to follow his father. Which is often unfortunate as the father has a raging temper and is often cruel and harsh to his only son. This film is short on plot, but very big on atmosphere and interplay between the two main characters. This is certainly a road film with a difference. The dynamics between the dangerous father and the son are beautifully handled, with many scenes of absolute tension and the occassional lighter one to ease the load. Filmed entirely in South Australia's Flinders Ranges, the film is just simply breath taking to view. Scenes filmed on a salt lake will stay with you for days after. My only slight quibble with the film would be a slight lack of background story with the characters. We learn a little through flashbacks, but I could have done with slightly more. However, there is not much else to fault. Weaving is wondrous as the grizzled and angry father, whilst newcomer Tom Russell has more expression then many a seasoned actor. Even though the film has a languid pace, it manages to keep your interest right through to the dramatic climax. This is certainly a heavy film, there is not much humour on display, but it is very rewarding. It is mature, thoughtful cinema at its very best.


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