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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Written by Leyton
Performed by Epsilon Blue
Courtesy of Kog Transmissions See more »
Twisty surprises delight and enthrall...
I loved this film so much I've seen it several times, and with each viewing am rewarded with another layer of story telling, symbolism, character development and references to Kiwiana - & NZ v USA culture.
On first viewing it's a twisty road trip with lashings of humour and a sci fi flavour, but subsequent viewings reveal a much darker story and complicated characters - once you recognise clues delivered in short sequences, or understand that throwaway lines are crucial to the story.
Cinematically it's an eye popping feast of vast landscapes and gorgeous lush scenery, but it's the dark twisty story which satisfies the most. Melanie Lynskey as Alice blew me away in her first sexy lead role rather than as the usual "suburban friend" she gets cast as; even Dean O'Gormon surprised as I'd only ever seen him acting in a soap before.
The soundtrack deserves special mention - especially the mood inducing soundscapes as the road trip progresses.
Overall this is a classic NZ film which will affect an entire generation of New Zealanders as Goodbye Pork Pie did in the 70s. Well worth a look.
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