Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weeklylife -

THE story of an age­ing man fac­ing his mor­tal­ity opens the eu­thana­sia de­bate in this Aus­tralian road trip, Last Cab to Dar­win.

Rex (Michael Ca­ton) is a lonely Bro­ken Hill cab driver who lives a rea­son­ably sim­ple life; his home is mod­est and he spends his down time at the pub with his mates.

He is, how­ever, hav­ing a se­cret af­fair with his in­dige­nous neigh­bour Polly (Nin­gali Law­ford), hid­ing it from his nar­row-minded peers and nosey neigh­bours.

When Rex finds out he has can­cer and only has three months to live, he wants to avoid de­cay­ing in hos­pi­tal beds and die on his owns terms.

An op­por­tu­nity to do so arises when he hears about Dar­win-based Dr Farmer’s (Jacki Weaver) con­tro­ver­sial ma­chine that al­lows dy­ing pa­tients to eu­thanise them­selves.

Rex jumps in his cab to drive the 3000km to Dar­win to be the first vol­un­teer to use the ma­chine, leav­ing a heart­bro­ken Polly be­hind.

Ca­ton and Law­ford de­liver af­fect­ing per­for­mances in this tear­jerker about two peo­ple with a deep con­nec­tion whose re­la­tion­ship is threat­ened.

Di­rec­tor Jeremy Sims del­i­cately han­dles the eu­thana­sia de­bate, de­mon­strat­ing the shades of grey be­tween both sides of the fence, and the dif­fi­culty in achiev­ing self-de­ter­mi­na­tion.

Sims also weaves in the un­der­ly­ing racism with­out be­tray­ing the de­bate and bal­ances the is­sues with heart, warmth and hu­mour.

While the struc­ture of the road trip story is overly fa­mil­iar, it is the char­ac­ters and their predica­ment that makes this one of the more mov­ing in the genre and one of the best Aus­tralian films of the year.

Michael Ca­ton stars in

Last Cab to Dar­win.

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