Last Cab to Darwin

Last Cab to Darwin


It's never too late to start living.

When lonely taxi driver Rex (Michael Caton, The Castle) is informed he doesn’t have long to live, he embarks on a colossal drive through the outback, from Broken Hill to Darwin in this Australian true-story drama. Rex's trip to Northern Territory is to take advantage of that state's short-lived euthanasia laws in 1996. Co-stars Academy Award-nominee Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom). Last Cab began life as a stageplay by Reg Cribb.

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Flicks Review

Cancer, euthanasia and a cab driver. It sounds like the unholy trinity of filmmaking. A veritable recipe for disaster with the dreaded terms "Australian film" and "indigenous issues" added for good measure.... More

Yet there is something magnificent about the way in which writers Reg Gribb and Jeremy Sims (who also directs) have not merely overcome any supposed restrictions born of their complex subject matter. Rather they have embraced the wealth of characters and colour that come with them, to deliver a unique, powerful but above all entertaining Australian road movie - a surprisingly sparse genre for such a car-obsessed nation.

Michael Caton is magnetic as Rex, a Broken Hill cabbie who doesn’t give advice and has never left town. Faced with incurable stomach cancer he volunteers to drive 3,000 km to become the first subject for Jacki Weaver's assisted death machine, legalised under new Northern Territory euthanasia laws.

While the film deals with that subject well - highlighting the personal ordeal involved for even the most "perfect" subject - it is the physical journey undertaken by Rex along with young Aboriginal footballer Tilly (Mark Coles Smith) and English nurse Julie (Emma Hamilton) that makes up the substantive heart and time of the movie. They are a terrific trio full of life and energy.

If Last Cab to Darwin has a fault, it is an almost self-deprecating sense of hiding its smarts and skill too well. This is an elegantly-crafted film that almost errs on the side of subtlety. Yet this deft touch makes for a captivating experience, in the same way a whisper can make a listener lean in.

Last Cab to Darwin is a classy treatise on tough subjects, a beautiful postcard for an underexposed part of Australia, but mostly a truly wonderful ride, start to finish.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 5 ratings, 5 reviews
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BY SCshiers lister

I found this a very powerful movie, very well done.

So much of Australia was captured in this movie. Seeing the rugged beauty of the towns and places on the Stuart Highway were just like being there. A good reminder that we can find inspiration in unlikely places.

BY GDAldridge superstar

Serious subject handled well by great actors - some laughs along with very moving moments. Included a disturbing picture of Australians treatment of aborigines though.

BY flapper123 superstar

With swearing aside, I enjoyed this movie. One could almost swelter in the intense heat of the day driving along those long stretches of dirt roads and highways with hardly a car in sight, I think this is where Rex's journey really begins. I am glad he made it home again too.

BY Davo60 nobody

Authentically Australian. A story of relationships, mateship and love as much as dealing with death. A wonderful movie and, if the language offends, don't go beyond the black stump. And, whoever suggested there was the token aboriginal failed to see how integral the aboriginal characters were to the story. That person does need to go past the stump to see a different side of Australian diversity.

The Press Reviews

83% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • It’s a film with a broad appeal, and one I think will do well upon release. Full Review

  • Well meaning and there is no shortage of heart, yet Jeremy Sims' film never quite delivers the warm package it intends. Full Review

  • The film shows little trace of its theatrical origins, not least because it consists of one ravishing shot of the blood-orange outback after another, and Sims wrings gentle pleasures from this most unlikely of subjects. Full Review

  • It's not so much the destination but the physical and emotional journey embarked on in this thoughtful, culturally authentic road trip. Full Review

  • The film has good elements and decent performances, but just as the characters seem to mull over missed opportunities, we are left to feel the same way about the film. Full Review

The Talk
92 %

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