Writers: Reg Cribb, Jeremy Sims
Starring: Michael Caton, Jacki Weaver, John Howard, Emma Hamilton, David Field, Mark Coles Smith
This is not a comedy people!
I’d been feeling my mortality, as we all do from time-to-time (nasty motorbike burn while travelling in Vietnam gone septic upon arrival home. Oh, and the flying. Flying seems to get me thinking these days too… Anywho…), so to cheer myself up, I thought, I’ll go and watch something uplifting. Not a horror or thriller, a good Aussie drama with a bit of comedy thrown in the mix… I should have done my research…
Last Cab to Darwin is an adaptation of the stage play written by Reg Cribb about the true story of a taxi driver, Rex (played by Michael Caton), when diagnosed with terminal cancer, drives to the Northern Territory to take advantage of the voluntary euthanasia law.
This is not the sort of film you go to see for a laugh, this is where you go with a hidden tissue in your sleeve so you can at least casually wipe the snot off your face, and perhaps a glass of wine to swallow over that lump in your throat because no, you will not bawl in front of strangers in a movie theatre. No. But those tears flow, and I figure people won’t notice if I don’t wipe them away. Then I do because they’re dripping now. And then crusty old Rex makes me smile because this is one of those movies that’s also sweet so you smile and that just makes you cry more.
I liked this film because the story felt authentic. I recognised the backdrop of Alice Springs, the red rocks, sign posts and salt bush. Loved the crusty old characters. I wasn’t looking for a tear jerker, or a film about euthanasia with a bit of a love story; the complex relationships between friends and family when dealing with death… But I liked it.
Original music composed by Ed Kuepper is a feature of this film. Music is important for me. I find my emotional response to a scene greatly influenced by the soundtrack. In this film I found the score was subtle, never taking away from the acting of truly great artists who starred in this film. It was there and it was good and it suited the movie.
It was thoughtful, the way the complex emotions of dying were shown. There was a depth here, handled with a very light touch.