Review: Last Cab to Darwin

Big Issue, #187, August 2015

Last Cab to Darwin is another local film of theatrical provenance – one of Australian cinema’s major trends this year. The latest makes the cinematic leap more gracefully than siblings Ruben Guthrie and The Daughter. This is a road-trip film made for a mature audience, and those tired of Hollywood’s superhero treadmill. The star it steers by is sincerity. Director Jeremy Sims (Beneath Hill 60) avoids the heavy social-conscience mood that a film about a dying man’s euthanasia mission suggests, slowly revealing a love story that overcomes the de-facto racial segregation of Central Australia. Compared to lead Michael Caton’s famed work in The Castle, his performance here is an irony-free-zone, and our beloved comic emerges as a genuine dramatic artist. Unlike life, the loose ends are neatly tied and any sadness is met with sweet smiles. This is conventional, feel-good cinema, quintessentially but not parochially Australian, occasionally but forgivably maudlin, executed with love and hope.

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