When an invitation to view a pre-release screener drops into my mailbox I take a look at the accompanying material so I can get an idea of what I’m in for. This one said that Roadkill “takes us on a wild journey along the dark, dangerous, and seemingly never-ending roads of the Australian outback”. This took me back to a cinema in Hampstead during the late seventies. Back then both I and Mel Gibson looked a lot slimmer, younger, and fitter. Him to star in, and me to catch a midnight screening of, Mad Max.
There’s something about the roads in the Australian outback. So long and so empty. I know that there is plenty of wide open space in the USA but Australia isn’t so far behind; the contiguous states and Australia are quite similar in size. The difference lies in the population. There are about twelve times more people in the USA than there are in Australia. Throw into the mix that we sent our criminals to Oz while the religious zealots went to the USA…
End Of The Month We’re Out Of Here
So Mad Max sprang to mind and I dare say that was the intention. I mean if you are going to hint at comparisons between your film and another one then there are worse to choose from. To be honest though, other than the fact they are both set out in the Australian Bush, there isn’t a lot of overlap. No bike gangs, no high speed chases, and no crashes. We have quite a different story which unfolds, pretty much, from the first frame. I have to admit that the ending wasn’t what I expected but that is no bad thing!
We start off with Connor Shelby (Alexander Whitrow who also wrote and directed Roadkill) lying on the roof of his car which is parked by the side of the road way out in the middle of nowhere. He’s on the phone chatting to his girlfriend, Lucy (Sarah Milde), about getting away from their current life. He sees a car coming and that’s when we find out what he does for a living. He’s a stick-up guy! He pretends that his car has developed a problem, flags down a good samaritan, and robs them at gunpoint. He doesn’t kill anyone and leaves their stuff, minus any cash, a kilometre down the road.
Your Phone And Your Keys Will Be Up The Road
All is going well until Lucy’s aunt and uncle (Julie Quick and Erik Strauts) call in for a meal. The problem is that Lucy’s uncle is a police detective and is working on some cases in the area. Oh, another fly in the ointment is that Connor has the misfortune to hold up a serial killer (Edward Boyd). The killer then starts to take an interest in Connor and things start to get complicated when the killer’s plans and the police investigation all start to intertwine. Not to mention more than a bit messy!
Considering Roadkill is the feature debut for many of the cast and crew it was surprisingly well acted and made. There were a few clunky moments. Why disguise your number plate with something suspicious like masking tape when a handful of mud would have been a quick and easy fix? If you’re on the run and your photo is in the papers why keep your distinctive facial hair? Also I did find the non-linear timeline a bit confusing when it kicked in half way through but that could just be me not keeping up with events! Still, despite those minor niggles, I thought Roadkill was an entertaining and engaging effort.
Movie Grade: B
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!