Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Fugitive Parenting: Last Ride
ex-con on the run would like to be a contemporary Mad Dog Morgan.
Unfortunately, the days when outlaws could disappear into the outback are long
gone. Dragging along his partially
estranged young son, he will stay on the loose just long enough to make
everything worse in Glendyn Ivin’s Last
opens this Friday in New York.
is not scared of a little jail time. He
has been inside several times before.
However, whatever he has done this time represents a considerably
greater level of seriousness. Over the
course of the film, viewers will learn what he did and why. In truth, Kev is not a bad guy, but he is
profoundly flawed. His erratic behavior
and periodic absences have made him a destabilizing influence in his son Chook’s
life. Life on the lam is not likely to
Kev’s self-destructive drinking complicates their getaway no end. Yet, despite the chaos, father and son start
to bond during quiet moments. Getting
back to nature seems to help. It means
there are far less people for Kev to brawl.
rugged Australian landscape looks striking through cinematographer Greig Fraser’s
lens, but it is also clearly a merciless environment. However, Ivin brutally focuses on the
relentlessly dysfunctional father-son drama.
Frankly, this is a draining film, offering viewers little comfort or
Ride is a powerful showcase for Hugo
Weaving. His bold work as Kev is likely
to be a revelation for a considerable number of viewers. Granted, he was instrumental to the success
of the Matrix franchise as Agent
Smith, but that role required entirely different acting muscles. Ferocious yet acutely tragic, it is a career
redefining performance many probably did not realize he had in him.
question, Weaving is the reason to see Ride,
whereas his younger co-star is not nearly as compelling an on-screen presence. To be fair though, he is saddled with some messy
emotional conflicts and mixed motivations down the stretch, leading to a
somewhat problematic climax. Still, it
is also worth noting a charismatic and stereotype defying appearance by Kelton Pell (the 1991 WA Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award-winner) as a forgiving
Ride is often a tough
watch. It is the kind of film that
inspires respect in place of affection.
Regardless, Weaving’s work demands notice, like a punch to the
solar-plexus. Recommended for those who
appreciate acting as a pure craft (and are not struggling with depression or
father issues), Last Ride opens this
Friday (7/6) in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Australian cinema, Hugo Weaving