Last Ride (2009)

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Released 3-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Director, Cinematographer and Editor
Featurette-Making Of-Along for the Ride (55.06)
Featurette-Rehearsal Footage (9.12)
Featurette-Web Clips
Deleted Scenes
Short Film-Cracker Bag and The Desert
Featurette-Fungalina : This is Where We Live (5.06)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 96:00 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Glendyn Ivin
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Hugo Weaving
John Brumpton
Mick Coulthard
Rachel Francis
Anita Hegh
Tom Russell
Adam Morgan
Levine Ngatokorua
Chrissie Page
Kelton Pell
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $35.95 Music Paul Charlier


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Last Ride is the first feature film directed by Australian filmmaker Glendyn Ivin. Winner of the Palme'd'Or for short film with Cracker Bag in 2003, Ivin brings to the screen a tough love story written by Mac Gudgeon from the book by Denise Young.

In Last Ride he has created a road movie about fatherhood and reconciliation. Hugo Weaving stars as Kev, an ex-con in a whole lot of trouble. Forced to flee the city for a crime we learn about part way through the movie he takes his young son Chook (newcomer Tom Russell) along for the ride.

Kev is a failed man is just about every sense - bitter, violent and prepared to lie, cheat and steal at every opportunity he is an awful role-model for his impressionable son.

The pair travel on the road to Adelaide keeping a low profile, including camping out in the bush, all the while discovering their love for each other as father and son.

It is a brutal and hard journey. At times Kev seems to be beyond redemption. He is a man destroyed by his own past and lacking the tools to raise and guide his only son. As Kev Weaving is superb. His rages and rantings all expose the hollow core to the man. Far from the smooth-skinned Elrond or Agent Smith, this is Weaving as a tired, grizzled man, aged before his time.

Newcomer Tom Russell is also excellent as the young Chook. He is really the only ray of hope in the film. Will he survive his fathers tough treatment and emerge at the other end as a whole person?

Last Ride came out in 2009 and was, like a number of the quality films released that year, exposed to the ongoing debate of "OZ Film Versus Oz Audience". Every industry thinker has already weighed into the debate and gone back to their respective corners without, it seems, any consensus. The film performed poorly at the Box Office resulting in claims that Australian filmmakers are out of touch with the public and counterclaims, by Margaret Pomerantz and others, that we, the cinema going public, are too lazy to see good films. Both, in my view, are correct and incorrect in equal measure.

Australian audiences are no more inclined to see a quality, grim drama about paedophilia, violence and lost hopes than American or UK audiences. Asking why Australian audiences won't pay out their hard earned cash to see dramas about marginal lives is no different from asking why Americans didn't see Frozen River or even "big star" films like Rachel Getting Married. The difference is that the edgy American and European dramas are the alternative and not the mainstream.

Australian audiences did turn out two see two of the "feel good" Australian films of the year being Charlie and Boots and Mao's Last Dancer. They turned out in smaller numbers for the equally challenging Beautiful Kate. The surprise was Sampson & Delilah, perhaps spurred on by its Cannes success.

The arthouse crowd will still rock up to films about despair and death but the average Australian wants something to enjoy with their popcorn and coke. A bad thing? Maybe. The reality worldwide? Definitely. Anyway, back to Last Ride. A tough film, with tough performances it is also surprisingly moving.

Highly recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Last Ride was shot on 35mm film and prjected cinematically at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

This ratio has been preserved for the cinematic release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

In a recent article in The Monthly playwright Louis Nowra complained that Australian cinematographers (based on the recent crop of films) were great at shooting landscapes but entirely unflattering when it came to beautifying their leads. He is half right. The landscape in this film is amazing including the forests and plains of South Australia, not to mention the iconic salt flats that play such a role in the film. He is right about the haggard, unflattering look of Weaving but I can't imagine anyone would want it any other way. Each line in the stars face is testament to the hard life that Kev has led. The flesh tones are very accurate.

The colours are accurate though often intentionally drab. The image quality is crisp. The light level of grain is intentional and suits the film.

There are no technical problems with the transfer. It is free of compression problems and the print is clear of any artefacts. All in all a good looking film.

There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which give a good account of on-screen action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sound for Last Ride is English Dolby Digital 5.1 running at 448 Kb/s.

The dialogue is clear and easy to understand despite the obvious choices off the actors not to over-enunciate.

The sub-woofer doesn't get a lot of work but there is a nice ambient feel to the surround track with birdsong and other noises giving depth to the soundscape.

The score is by Paul Charlier. It is discordant at times and more in the nature of an ambient track to the film that a series of themes. It is a perfect accompaniment to the film.

The actors are in audio sync.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Did somebody say extras? This Two Disc Filmmakers Edition is jam packed with special features.

Commentary Track

An oddity for a commentary track - not only the director but the Director of Photography, Greig Fraser, and the Editor, Jack Hutchings , make an appearance. As a result the track is packed with technical information. It is a must for budding filmmakers wanting to know how a film is put together. We learn about the creation of simple naturalistic lighting for the film, the difficulties of working with rabbits in a state that doesn't have a lot of rabbits! Having an editor on board gives a different perspective as he lets out a few secrets about the process of selecting shots, reversing shots to re-use them later in a film and making effective last minute choices to create structure.

Although the track is pretty high on technicals the director does go into detail the process of working with the cast and the difficulties Weaving experienced as a mature actor developing his character with a new actor opposite him. An interesting track throughout.

Along For the Ride (55.06)

This lengthy featurette is at times as gruelling as the film itself. Director Ivin takes us deep into the psyche of a filmmaker which is sometimes not a pleasant place to be. Beginning at the end of the casting process under pressure to find Chook, the film goes through pre-production and the road trip that was the making of this movie. Everyone gets a look in including the cast and crew. Ivin is at turns gleeful at particular scenes and struck by anxiety that the movie will not work.

An essential watch for fans of the film and anyone who wants to see exactly what it is like to deliver a celluloid baby!

Postcards

Two postcards to send to your friends to tell them that you have seen a great movie called Last Ride, or Avatar, your choice.

Booklet

No puff piece this - a 48 page booklet containing images from the film and publicity shots as well as excerpts from the directors diary and an interview between novelist Denise Young and adaptor Mac Gudgeon.

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Glendyn Ivin

Three short scenes (Breathing Stones (1.27), Morning Walk (1.43), Live out Here (1.57)) and some B Roll driving footage(1.29). In the commentary Ivin describes the pain of losing each moment, mainly lost for time and repetition.

Behind the Scenes Web Clips

Though interesting these 5 Web Clips are essentially material grabbed from the Along For the Ride featurette. The only new material is the short sequences of a precocious Tom Russell filming the cast and crew (Tom's Camera (2.50).

Rehearsal Footage (9.12)

A great little sequence. Tom Russell and Hugo Weaving work on the scene where the pair enter the Afghan Museum (at rehearsal stage it was a mosque) performing it a few times, gradually building in some stage business. Finally we see the scene as filmed.

Short Films by Glendyn Irvin

Two films are included here - the Palme'd'Or Short Film winning Cracker Bag (14.25) and The Desert (8.45). For those who haven't seen the former it is a melancholy tale, set in 1980 Australia, of a young girl and her ambition to build a mighty fireworks collection for Cracker Night. Things don't quite go to plan!

The Desert was really , as Ivin explains in the optional commentary, an exercise in working in the outback which he used as preparation for Last Ride. It was shot whilst filming a video for Magic Dirt and features Dirt's Adalita as a woman who digs a big hole in the desert with surprising results.

Worth a watch.

Theatrical Trailer and Teasers

The trailer and a few short teasers which, interestingly, contain material eventually cut from the film.

Fungalina :This is Where We Live (5.06)

A short plea for support of the environmentally delicate Calvert River area in the Northern Territory. I imagine this film was included due to the presence of Hugo Weaving as narrator.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  Only Region 4 as yet.

Summary

    Last Ride is an essential purchase for lovers of dark drama. Anyone with an appreciation of Australian cinema will also want to get this edition with its host of extra features. Though a decidedly dour affair the film looks and sounds good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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