Last Cab to Darwin
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 08 August 2015, 1:30pm
Running time: 124m
Classification: M (Coarse language and mature themes)
Release date: 06/08/15
Cost: $10.00 (Optus Rewards)
Rating: 7.5/10 (ME 3/5, DP 4.5/5)
Last Cab to Darwin is a tale of euthanasia and a road trip through the centre of Australia, as a terminally ill taxi driver seeks to end his life and end his suffering. Michael Caton plays the world weary Rex, a cabbie in Broken Hill who has never left the town and appears happiest when he is bickering with his neighbour and secret lover, Polly (Ningali Lawford-Wolf) or sharing a round of beers with his mates. Rex is diagnosed with stomach cancer and told he only has months to live. Upon hearing of Dr Nicole Farmer (Jackie Weaver), a right-to-die campaigner with a computerised machine to assist suicide, Rex decides to set off to Darwin to seek her assistance to end his pain. Along the way, Rex meets up with the young and outgoing, yet terribly lost and confused Aboriginal footballer, Tilly from Oodnadatta (Mark Coles Smith) with whom he then shares most of his epic journey. After meeting Julie (Emma Hamilton), an adventurous English nurse eager to experience life, the three of them travel on to Darwin where they seek out Rex's supposed saviour, Dr Farmer. Along the way they learn each other's stories and soon start to impact on one another as their relationships evolve and change.
Michael Caton delivers a wonderfully expressive, yet simultaneously subtle, performance and takes us on an emotional journey as he contemplates his life...and its imminent end. Mark Coles Smith is superb and a delight to watch and Emma Hamilton makes the caring and supportive nurse come alive. Ningali Lawford-Wolf is also brilliant as the friend and lover that Rex leaves behind in Broken Hill. Strangely, Jackie Weaver is probably the weakest link and never appears to be terribly comfortable or convincing as the pro-euthanasia doctor.
This is a heartfelt and powerful story, told with the right mix of laconic humour and strong emotion. It is also beautifully filmed. The Australian outback is striking and the soundtrack is perfect. There are so many moments of raw emotion, that tissues are essential as you may be brought to tears on many occasions. If there is any criticism, it is that it's a little too long, however Last Cab to Darwin remains a wonderful film that is well worth seeing. (DP)
5th AACTA Award