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|Index||22 reviews in total|
This film is a major leap forward from recent Aussie films, thankfully getting away from drug-raddled Western suburbs teenagers and quirky comedy clowns. The film-makers are willing to take on a big subject, a major global theme, that of displaced people and the extraordinary acts of quiet courage that so-called "boat people" are often required to perform simply to survive. It is very well directed, skillfully guiding an almost entirely unknown and inexperienced cast by not relying on too many long, challenging acting scenes but flick-passing from one story to the next in a way where the limited acting skills of the cast are best served. This is not a perfect film, it is too long at some points, and once in a while commits the cardinal sin of letting the audience get ahead of the film in knowing full well what will happen next. Another careful and unemotional edit, trimming eight to ten minutes of splashing in billabongs, tinkering with utes and trudging through scrub could only help. But these are minor quibbles in a film that achieves so much, that aims high and gets there. This and "Clubland" are without doubt the best two films so far in2007.
The scenario is simple. A disparate group of refugees are dumped on the inhospitable West Australian coast by unscrupulous people smugglers. It may sound like the perfect recipe for a tale of woe and misery, but instead Lucky Miles is a comedy, and easily the most enjoyable Australian film I've seen for quite a few years. And the audience at the Sydney Film Festival certainly found plenty to laugh at. Writer Helen Barnes and writer/director Michael James Rowland, aided by a wonderful ensemble cast, have created a marvelous set of characters. They could have given us mere symbols of suffering and injustice, or ethnic stereotypes, but instead each character is gloriously human. The Iraqi and Cambodian refugees, the Indonesian people smugglers, and the Australian reservists tasked with rounding them up, all have laughable foibles. And it is the presentation of this common humanity that makes this film not only very funny, but also a powerful exploration of one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Left to find their way over the sand dunes for a bus to Perth these wanderers have little understanding of how far they really are from a town. Such is the setting for this film looking at what it means to flee your homeland for another. Apart from the political environment, this film gives a new perspective to an old story - that of asylum seekers, refugees, queue jumpers or the myriad of loaded terms used these days to express a simple idea...fleeing a country due to crises, finding a new home or reuniting with family (father). A comic tale 'inspired by true stories' filled with moments of laughter, frustration and tears of relief. A variety of atmospheres are painted against the backdrop of the vast Australian landscape showing its beauty in the colour of the reeds and grasses, red soil and iridescent blue ocean. Three contrasting stories are told in parallel in the western desert complete with goanna and abandoned miner's hut. Sweeping views of the Australian desert landscape on the edge of the sea are like actors themselves. These stories are ripe for the telling with characters drawn in three dimensions, believable, brought to life as real people rather than stereotypes echoing our fears. This film celebrates the look of the outback, and is told with humour, sensitivity and empathy for those caught up in ordinary circumstances outside our own world view and yet closer than we think.
What a great little film and I mean that in the best way. Meaning it's
not overplayed, over-acted, over-cut, over-the-top or any of the other
"we're over it's" that fill most of the frames of blockbuster rubbish.
This is a film that tells a great story, with compelling and real people that will have you laughing along and wishing them all a happy ending.
Even better for an Aussie film, it's full of the great Aussie characters and they're not over-done or caricatures.
yes it's a touch long and if it gets the 10 minute trim I and others think it deserves, Lucky Miles will be one of the great little films of recent times - go see it!
This is a road movie with a difference. It really gets to the heart of the vastness that is the Australian continent. It is essentially a quest like all good movies but with many twists and turn along the way.The sometime serious subject matter is treated with humour. If you like Mad Max,Crocodile Dundee and Walkabout you will find elements of all these in this film. It also good to see an Aussie film that has something besides lots of whitebread "skippy" characters. In keeping with the trend in many films today there are several stories running as linked threads through the film and this keeps the interest for the audience. Would recommend this as a feelgood and heartfelt film with something to appeal to many groups.
Few films today dare to treat our border control issues with situational humor. Even fewer rely on a largely unknown cast, to carry a story that has very little to do with saving the western world or pointing any fingers. But almost none consider that coming to the western world could be worse than 'where ever it is they came from' for an asylum seeker. Lucky Miles is such a film. It takes the politics out of culture clashes and anchors conflict in the need for survival. It challenges stereotypes both international and indigenous without tippy-toeing or apologizing. Films like this one are long, long over due, and call the need for a shift in our attitudes to generating new Australian filmmakers. Lucky Miles is a leap forward in old fashioned cinema, and a beacon for commercial free stories.
This is a (non-romantic) comedy, based on several true life stories. An
Indonesian fishing boat-full of unauthorized male migrants from Iraq
and Cambodia is put ashore by the villainous captain on the
north-western coast of Western Australia. The migrants are told all
they have to do is climb up from the beach to a road from where they
can catch a bus to Perth. What the captain fails to tell them that
Perth is 2000 km away and the nearest bus stop (of the "Lucky Miles"
bus company) is in Broome, 300 km away. Discovering the fraud, the
party breaks up. Boat people are no novelty in these parts and most of
them are soon picked up by the authorities, but three of them, Arun, a
Cambodian who is trying to get to his Australian father in Perth,
Yousif an Iraqi engineer who has lost everything at home and Ramelan, a
member of the fishing boat's crew get themselves lost in the desert.
They are, however, not alone. A border patrol operated by Army reservists is on their trail, but the pursuit would have to be described as leisurely. One of the reservists, an Aboriginal, is quite at home in the bush and his superior tracking skills means his colleagues don't have to put themselves out very much. It is pleasant to record that the Army guys are actually concerned about the fate of their quarry. The lost trio on the other hand have nothing in common except that they are lost together and much of the comedy arises from their incompatibilities. They have to co-operate to survive, but it's a close-run thing.
Outback South Australia stood in for the northwest of WA, but it is still a tough landscape. The film-makers very sensibly shot on location between June and August, but you can still sense the heat. I'd like to make this film compulsory viewing for those of our politicians and officials who equate boat people as criminals. In the year in which this film was set, 1990, asylum-seekers were not automatically locked up. The future of the people in this film was quite bright. Now, of course they would be removed from the mainland, and dumped in our rented Pacific hell-hole, Nauru until we can persuade some other country (New Zealand perhaps) to take them.
Immigration politics aside, the central characters are well realized and we become involved in their fate. Some well-known names in Australian acting pop up in small roles, but the main roles are taken by relative newcomers. Kenneth Moraleda as Arun and Rodney Afif as Yousif really shine. Afif gives us a man who is angry all the time, yet eventually we understand and even like him. Moraleda is not so showy but equally sympathetic.
There was some nice camera work and clever cutting though at times the story meandered a bit. Entertaining and thoughtful.
One of my favourites of 2007
It is simply a really well put together film about boat people trying to sneak into, and then around, the Northern territories.
Every situation is handled with suitable aplomb: there is plenty of genuine laughs as well as great character development as the main protagonists fall out with each other and gradually form real bonds. There is a lovely touch throughout of subtitling the speaker rather than the screen and this works superbly.
For a film with such a small plot it delivers a real punch: it is far more human, and enjoyable than many bigger costume dramas,, or big budget efforts.
It really is worth the view, and I can't wait to see the next effort by Michael James Roland because this one is seriously good: funny, poignant, exciting, and above all, a film about finding.
This film is without comparison. It stands outside genres because it is without formula. It demands that each viewer approaches it with our own native intelligence turned on to Go mode - as if we too are in the desert without a compass. We are compelled to sense out the tone, intention and stand point of the film with few clues other than a kind of "existential compassion". Curiously, and perhaps with a lazy dingo's ear to what the rest of the audience is doing, we find our ways with it effortlessly and quickly. We learn that the story speaks for itself through the uncompromising performances of the cast, the landscape and the narrative ("whose" performance we are reminded of in the visual use of sub titles). Added to this is a heart wrenching quality of ephemeral beauty - the quality of light, the sound track which is at times indistinguishable from the landscape, the loving clip on the ear, the joy of fresh water. It is about human rights to exist - but as measured across disinterested (is it?) geography rather than indignant legislation. That is, the measure of existence is three water bottles plus whatever happens to arrive to save the day, popping as it were, out of nowhere, and with no promises. We learn the power of endurance, cooperation, betrayal, foolishness and the synergy of happen chance. Tiny human attributes in a vast meaningless cosmology. This film has the hallmark of great artistic work: an original expression of a love of life and humanity.
I am not voting 10 for the film because I was a cast member and had a role in the film, but because of how it blew me off whilst watching it at the premiere last week. I have done a fair few gigs and this one is by far the best of the best. I have never voted for work I have been a part of before, but this one is really a cracker of a picture and a very well told story. Michael's directions is wonderful and the narrative is held extremely well with the superb performances by the lead actors. I can't be reviewing the film, as it might sound one sided, however I am voting 10 because that is my genuine feeling towards the film. I have it as a top 5 Aussie films of all time. If I see it again, I will probably notice other positives/ flaws in the film and I will happily report them. OSAMAH
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