Last Cab to Darwin

Font Size:

It was the name ‘Michael Caton’ that initially attracted me to this new Aussie flick. That and the fact that there aren’t many contemporary productions about ‘The Hill’, and this one promised the possibility of a visual tour across some of the most spectacular, yet little visited, country in our vast continent.  

Ever since I, in common with so many others, delighted in The Castle and Caton’s role as Darryl, the patriarch of the Kerrigan family, the presence of this thoughtful, experienced professional was sufficient to entice me to see Last Cab to Darwin. And the lead role of Rex required all of Caton’s sensitivity to credibly portray the character that, for two hours, is rarely off the screen.

Derived from an even longer 2003 stage play, also written by Reg Cribb, the script has been tightened and several characters added. All the cast is excellent with outstanding performances from Ningali Lawford-Wolf as Polly and Mark Coles Smith as Tilly, and strong deliveries from Jackie Weaver as the Darwin doctor championing voluntary euthanasia and Emma Hamilton as Julie, the English back-packing nurse.  

Although Rex embarks on a heroic ‘last journey’, this is anything but a conventional ‘road’ movie. Diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, this fiercely independent and pragmatic loner believes he can end his life with dignity in Darwin. The Northern Territory was about to legalise voluntary euthanasia and when Rex reads this in the paper, he determines to pack-up and drive his cab the 3000-plus kilometres across some of the most inhospitable country. Along the way he meets a diverse array of characters, two of whom, Tilly and Julie, become his travelling companions to Darwin.

Variously described as a ‘drama–comedy’ or a ‘biopic’, Last Cab to Darwin is all of these and more. Despite the serious core subject of Rex’s diagnosis, and the fact that it’s based on a real-life taxi driver, Max Bell, who in the early 1990s sought to avail himself of the new Northern Territory legislation, this film is leavened with some marvellous dry Aussie humour.

But, be warned, it doesn’t shy away from accurately portraying the isolation of the outback and the racial relations in country towns, flies and all.

Go and see this marvellous Australian production and then tell all your friends. But warn them, not about the language, but to take a box of tissues. Last Cab to Darwin can be pretty poignant but it definitely has the vibe.

Why not watch the trailer?

Written by David Fallick


Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading


Ambulance costs around Australia

There should be no hesitation when you have to call an ambulance in an emergency situation, but some people rushed...


Four tell-tale signs that you may have a blood clot

A blood clot is a clump of cells and protein in your blood. Blood clots form to slow down bleeding...

Finance News

How much you can save on electricity in your home state

As we prepare to head into the colder winter months, there is good news for those worried about heating costs...


What is thrombocytopenia, and why did it stop the AstraZeneca jab?

Anthony Zulli, Victoria University; Maja Husaric, Victoria University; Maximilian de Courten, Victoria University, and Vasso Apostolopoulos, Victoria University Australia's medical...


Ways to manage death anxiety

Winston Churchill once said: "Any man who says he is not afraid of death is a liar." But while it's...

Food and Recipes

Rick Stein's Autumn Vegie Soup

"One of the rather pathetic realities of the fact that so many of the restaurants in France are disappointing these...


Australians give big thumbs down to the public service

Only 27 per cent of Australians believe the public service acts in the public interest and only 22 per cent...

Brain health

Normal tension glaucoma linked to cognitive impairment

Australian researchers say they have established a link between the eye condition glaucoma and cognitive impairment, the state that often...