For the last movie in its fall season, the Vernon Film Society is showing the highly rated Last Cab to Darwin at the Towne Cinema Monday, Dec. 12.
Michael Caton stars as Rex, a cab driver in the Australian mining town of Broken Hill, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Rex has spent most of his life avoiding getting close to people, even his best friend and occasional lover Polly (Ningali Lawford-Wolf of Rabbit Proof Fence), who lives across the road.
Not wanting to be forced to rely on anyone, least of all Polly, Rex decides to drive alone across the outback to Darwin in the Northern Territory, where the law on voluntary assisted euthanasia has recently been passed (the law has since been repealed).
More than the usual road movie, the story shows how stops along the way and eventually passengers – one an English nurse and another an Aboriginal man – help Rex realize that before ending his life, he has to live it, and to live it, he has to learn to share it.
Caton is outstanding in portraying Rex with all his foibles. His physical presence, with his baggy eyes, thinned-out grey hair and drooping skin, make for a hang-dog look perfect for the part of this loner.
The screenplay is based on a play, which itself was based on a true story. Gorgeous cinematography from Steve Arnold captures the otherworldly beauty of the Australian outback, which serves as a counterpoint to this story of one man wishing to control his own future and possible death.
“(Director Jeremy) Sims’ picture is an endearing tearjerker which deftly and respectfully handles big issues with subtlety and a personal touch,” said Matthew Anderson, with Cinevue. “Characteristically sardonic Aussie humour and the antipodean principle of mateship contribute to a story that is as hilarious as it is heart-wrenching.”
The film is rated PG for coarse language and some violence. It screens at the Towne Cinema Monday, Dec. 12 at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at the theatre and Bean Scene (cash only). The program for the upcoming winter season, starting in January, will be available soon.
Visit www.vernonfilmsociety.bc.ca for more information.