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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 Kayti Denham

"Not Just Another Road Movie"
4 stars

Bright brain candy from debut director: Falling fridges, earthquakes and floods all paint the picture of a Siam Sunset

Not Just Another Road Movie

Siam Sunset , John Poulsons' directorial debut hit the screens this week in Sydney.
It is a film that has been awaited with interest. The director, after starting Trop Fest a short film competition that began in a coffee shop, has become a leading light of the emerging New Austrlian Film Industry ( read as Fox influenced or Americanised or just New)
Having moved to Australia under the influnce of films like Mad Max - Road Warrior I have always sought to see films that make use of that weird and wonderful area in Australia called 'The Outback". I even went there a few times myself .

Siam Sunset gives the audience a good position from which to veiw this strange land,through the eyes of Perry , played by Linus Roache. Poor Perry has been widowed back in England his beautiful wife crushed by a falling fridge.. The opening scene of the film is delightful, the set up, the music: Here we have young attractive married man leaving his work as an industrial chemist to go home, everyone says goodnight, smiles are beamed apon him, the music swings along . It could be an ad for milk..except during the weekend the fridge drops in and thats the end of that part.
So now Perry is morbid and strange things occur around him, nothing so strange though as winning a trip for ten days for one in the outback of Australia at a Bingo night at Christmas, but thats the movies for you!

Off our lad goes to Adelaide to embark on the trip and here the film gathers speed, we meet the bus driver, a real dikum Aussie with a typical and healthy disregard for the English and their bloody whinging..Very quickly it is established that he is running a far inferior bus trip to that offerred by a competitor and fears being squeezed out of buisness. We meet a rag tag bunch of holiday makers , some familiar Aussie family stereo types and a guy who can' t play Stairway to Heaven on his guitar and off we head into the outback .

Concurrently in Adelaide a spunky young girl is leaving her drug dealing boyfriend . Routes collide and after an earthquake and a flood everyone is riding the same bus.
Its a fun ride with some great cameos of disaster and romance..the family groups where too familiar to care much for but with the arrival of the whole troupe at Erics' Motel the pace changes again.
Eric, played by Robert Menzies, is a classic. A stunning performance of deranged outback nuttiness. The support characters , the Army Reserve girl, the guitar loser guy and the bus driver were great, Ian Bliss bought menace in the form of Martin the doctor and I especially liked the brief appearance of the butterfly farm owner in a truly pretty scene.

As supplies dwindle at Erics Motel and sanity evaporates like dew drops under the scorching outback sun the story of Perry and the girl takes off and despite Perry dwelling on his own bad luck it seems that girls situation could develop into something far worse.
In the end though it isthe dog that gets the worst luck of all .
The film ends in a technicolour scene reminiscent of the sixties ..I enjoyed it for its' ambition, I think John Poulson has done a good job for his first feature. There are things I wouldn't look too closely at, there were scenes that seemed to pop in out of nowhere and be gone again just as irrelevantly and despite a bit of familiarity in the Aussie stereotyping I have to admire the cranky bus driver performance for its' authenticity. Its a cool film and its' brain candy. It doesn't try too hard to be anything else.

f you base your film on the sorrow of a man who lost his wife to a falling fridge you are not really asking to be taken too seriously are you?

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originally posted: 09/15/99 15:49:09
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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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