CRIME DRAMA; 1hr 24min
STARRING: Travis McMahon, David Lyons, Bryan Brown
Out of luck: Lyons
Out west in the so-called “real” Australia, the landscape is bleached to a tinderbox. You wouldn’t want to be stranded there, but it’s where Eli Jones (Lyons) finds himself, bound and gagged on the back seat of the beat-up tomato-red Ford of John Kelly (McMahon). Jones gambles for a living and as can happen with career risk-takers, his luck has run out. Hard-up Kelly’s bottom-rung job is to hand him over to some doubtless unsavoury individuals, and even without knowing where he is headed, Jones emphatically does not want to go.
Take a premise bristling with horrible possibilities, set it nine-tenths of the way to nowhere and if the plot, pacing and performance pieces fall into place, sustained tension should do the rest. McMahon and Lyons made terse work of nuts-and-bolts dialogue while writer-director Jasmine Yuen Carrucan keeps the downhill ride on course. Its key weakness is that as bankable characters, neither Kelly nor Jones (let alone Brown’s machiavellian cliché cop and Shane Jacobsen’s unlucky trucker) are ultimately worth the investment.