Saturday, March 29, 2014
I have had an exceptionally busy few weeks. And I have not been reading much, unfortunately.
But I did get a chance to watch an Australian film from 2009 called Last Ride, which was pretty much forced on me by a colleague who said he knows that I don't like being forced to read or watch things but that in this case the movie was so good that he was not giving me a choice.
Last Ride stars Hugo Weaving and a kid called Tom Russell, who play a father (Kev) and son (Chook). There are a few other incidental characters here and there but the film is very much focused around this relationship. The film is based on a book called 'The Last Ride', by Denise Young.
The film begins in the early hours of the morning, with Chook waking, in the car, somewhere in rural Australia. He and his father are on the run. It will take us some time to find out what from, and why.
It is a really beautiful movie - wonderfully filmed, well conceived, excellently acted, well paced and plotted. It had all the best elements of fiction going for it, but it also gave me the impression that it was entirely real. The two main actors (and indeed everyone else touched by the storyline) were really superb - nothing made me think 'what skill, what soulful acting' because I was far too busy being engrossed in their reality. They were heart-breakingly three-dimensional and human.
Characterisation, in fact, is what makes this film sing. No one is a monster, but everyone is flawed and broken. In the midst of all this brokenness, relationships are fragile and yet resilient. I suppose it is a tragic story. I know that I couldn't sleep for hours after watching it, just lying in bed thinking about those characters.
I highly recommend this movie. Normally I'm reluctant to watch "tragedies" because I feel manipulated by them. In this case, there was nothing manipulative about the way this film was put together. It's just a superb piece of story-telling which will stay with you for a long time. Five stars from me.
If you need any further convincing - see Roger Ebert's review here.