7:00 PM, 3rd October, 2015
Another semester, another opportunity to show off the sparse beauty of the remote Australian landscape.
Rex (Caton) is an elderly cabbie who has lived his entire life in Broken Hill, with a group of mates he sees at the pub and a lover. But at heart he’s a loner, his only true companion his dog, Dog. When diagnosed with terminal cancer that fact becomes clear – as he leaves them all behind on a 3000km drive to Darwin, where new euthanasia laws will give him a chance to once more take control of his own fate.
But even the most dedicated loner can’t travel 3000 km without encountering a few people along the way, and through these encounters Rex is forced to confront his choices in life and re-evaluate his view of the world.
Director Jeremy Sims has done an exceptional job balancing the melancholy and the uplifting in Last Cab to Darwin, resulting in a dark comedy that will have you laughing and crying in equal measure. Caton puts in a career-best performance, outshining memories of Darryl Kerrigan, and the supporting cast is wonderful.
This is a delightful, very Australian film about a man finding the truth of himself, albeit at the last possible minute.
9:14 PM, 3rd October, 2015
In the long debate about The Greatest Album Of The ‘60s, many people go for one of the five classic Beatles LPs. Others go for Dylan (either “Highway 61 Revisited” or “Blonde On Blonde”). Some vote for “The Velvet Underground And Nico”, a few argue for Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced” and many baby boomers swear by Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”.
My flag is firmly placed in the “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys camp. And that’s a large part of why I liked Love & Mercy so much, I think.
It’s the story of Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson’s struggle with mental health, manipulative family and controlling, suffocating psychiatrists. The film is split into two parts (intercut with each other throughout the movie as opposed to being in two distinct halves), with Paul Dano portraying the younger Wilson at the height of his fame and John Cusack, the older version circa 1980. I enjoyed the Dano sections because they mostly focussed on the studio creation of that masterpiece album and I was captivated. The Cusack parts were also engaging, not least due to Paul Giamatti’s gleeful and yet angering portrayal of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.
From baby boomers who lived the ‘60s through to younger audience members who have yet to discover the wonderful music and yet tragic tale of Wilson and The Beach Boys, Love & Mercy is entertaining and poignant for all ages.