For a film chock full of as many staples of classic Ozploitation cinema as High Rolling, one could be forgiven for ignoring its obvious flaws and instead enjoying the film solely as a feel-good, road-trip shambles. Indeed, High Rolling starts off that way, but many of its initially entertaining quirks wear off rapidly, resulting in an empty shell of a viewing experience with little to offer on the grounds of character, plot, humour or basic escapism.
Joseph Bottoms and Grigor Taylor play Tex and Alby, two knockabouts who abandon their directionless jobs at a travelling carnival in search of some on-the-road hijinks. Along the way, they hijack a Corvette, get lucky with a couple of nightclub singers and find themselves on the run from the mob.
The film's place in Australian history remains firmly held, if only for the solid debut appearance of one of the country's most reliable exports in Judy Davis (My Brilliant Career, Barton Fink). Meanwhile, the occasional likability of her two male leads fails to win out against a woeful screenplay and Bottoms' distracting overacting, making High Rolling a throwaway piece of entertainment at best, and an utter waste of time at worst.
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