Alice (Lynskey) lives in suburban Christchurch, the 'safest place in the world', but she longs for an adventure of American proportions (guns, murder, sex, drugs etc). Her best friend Craig (O'Gorman) changes his name to Johnny because Craig isn't heroic enough for Alice. He is in love with her and waiting for her to settle down so that he can be with her. She likes hanging out with him because of the hot as car he did up himself, a convertible Valiant. Together they roam the roads around SE NZ picking up hitchhikers and looking for excitement. One day they pick up Seth, an American Texas type, with snakeskin boots and a cowboy hat. He is on the run from a gang of skinheads who he stole money from, a Mr. Trippy truck with a couple who he stole a whole crap load of drugs off, and a big Moari dude on a motorcycle. Alice is immediately enchanted by Seth, Johnny jealous. Seth tricks Alice into taking a trip with him. The chase leads them away from their home and toward the hazardous roads... Written by
Still, I liked hanging out with him, especially since he got the car. He spent a year doing it up, just so as we could go out driving and pretend like we were on route 66. This wasn't easy because we lived in New Zealand. There were no scorpions and no snakes, no gansters, people didn't carry handguns. It seemed to me like the safest. fucking. country in the world. And I hated it.
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Kiwis have this really odd approach to our films. We automatically assume that if a film has come from the States, and if it's showing in Hoyts, then it's better than anything ever made in New Zealand, let alone the smelly ol' Mainland.
As Snakeskin aptly shows, this is damn wrong, and it's fitting that it uses the Kiwi appropriation (obsession) with the American Dream as its central theme. In fact, the characters know more about Elvis and Marrilyn ("The patron saints of America guiding us on our journey") than about the small plastic Tiki they have in their car.
It's a very clever, very well directed, *excellent* film. With a kicking soundtrack. This is very important.
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