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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.11%
Worth A Look: 27.03%
Pretty Bad: 18.92%
Total Crap: 10.81%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Siam Sunset
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by Filmnet

"More frocks and buses in the desert."
2 stars

I have been hesitant to write this review simply because I am loathe to criticise an Australian film, especially one from first time feature director John Polson, known better for his acting work in films such as “The Boys” and “The Sum of Us”. Whilst watching “Siam Sunset” was pleasant enough, I don’t feel very strongly about recommending another Australian road movie involving wacky Australian characters, bad frocks and a bus to my friends. I know it is sacrilegious to diffuse the enthusiasm for the Australian film industry by criticising one of our own but I have no idea why this film has been so lauded.

Max Dann (The Big Steal, Spotswood) and Andrew Knight (SeaChange, Spotswood) re-team to share the writing credit of this black comedy with a red centre. The story revolves around English paint specialist Perry, and his search (and self-discovery) for the elusive colour, Siam Sunset, on a bus trip full of eccentrics in the Australian outback. Since the freaky death of his wife, Perry has been the victim of a cruel cosmic joke involving unusual accidents yet he reluctantly pursues an elusive peace through the streets of gloriously ordinary Adelaide to the red deserts of Coober Pedy.

The material flows well and there are some wickedly funny moments but after “Priscilla”, “Woop Woop”, “True Love and Chaos” and “Kiss or Kill”, I am way over my threshold of Australian road movies with quirky characters and panoramic scenery shots. Fortunately, Polson’s direction and some great performances from the ensemble supporting cast keeps it on track. In particular, Melbourne comedian Alan Brough is a standout as Stuart, one of Perry’s travelling companions.

New Zealand’s Danielle Cormack (Xena: Warrior Princess, Topless Women Talk About Their Lives) as the mysterious Grace, and her violent, drug dealing doctor ex-boyfriend, Martin (Ian Bliss), also keep things moving but it is the luscious Linus Roache (The Wings of a Dove, Priest) as Perry who held my interest. Roache is restrained, wistful and vulnerable as the tormented Perry, as well as physically similar to Polson, who could have played the role himself.

Whilst the Australian locations were reliably predictable, I was completely unconvinced by the “England” scenes – I have never seen snow that was so obviously foam, nor “English” characters with such Australian accents. Small budget or not, these obviously bad opening scenes dampened the film’s credibility. Do something worthwhile and put your money into an Australian film next time you visit your local multiplex but don’t be too caught up in the hype. (Natasha

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originally posted: 12/20/99 17:59:28
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User Comments

9/27/10 Tom Interesting and enjoyable 4 stars
1/16/05 Dogbollox Poor in every department. (except for the fine Alan Brough) 1 stars
1/14/05 Les Nurke So the mysterious colour an old can of paint? How does that make ANY sense? 1 stars
11/09/04 Alexander Very Very nice 5 stars
7/12/02 Christopher Young Bill Whippet is a legend 5 stars
2/28/02 june parry great director (gorgeous John!) 5 stars
2/04/02 Damon Godenn I really wana know what the song is called Hallalujah 3 stars
2/05/00 Sam Very enjoyanble, worth watching, I liked it. 4 stars
11/19/99 Ron Legg Worth a look comedy 4 stars
10/24/99 Amalia Illgner Convoluted, mess and too ambitious 1 stars
9/27/99 Danny & Sharon An excellent Australian Movie . 4 stars
9/15/99 Dogma Dave Unlucky Polson (Sunny Boy) 1 stars
9/10/99 simmo a series of short films strung together to make a weak film 2 stars
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  09-Sep-1999 (M)

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