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Last Cab to Darwin 

Wednesday, Jul 6 2016
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Jeremy Sims' Last Cab to Darwin is a formulaic but still heart-tugging road movie. Rex (Michael Caton) is a taxi driver who's lived his entire life in the tiny Australian hamlet of Broken Hill. He knows everyone in town, but isn't close to anyone besides his neighbor Polly (Ningali Lawford), with whom he's in an on-again, off-again affair that he keeps on the down-low owing to her not being white. When Rex is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he eschews treatment, instead driving 3,000 kilometers from Broken Hill to the city of Darwin in hopes of receiving illegal euthanasia treatment from Dr. Nicole Farmer (Jacki Weaver). Along the way, Rex picks up Indigenous football player Tilly (Mark Coles Smith) and nurse-turned-bartender Julie (Emma Hamilton), while becoming a national news figure. They reach Darwin halfway through the picture, though Last Cab to Darwin is of course less about the destination than the journey, tackling heavy subjects like the right to die and the still-existing racial divides between white Australians and Indigenous people. It doesn't find anything new to say, but the characters are pleasant enough to spend time with. Trigger warning: Figuring into the plot is a real-life tree in which feral cats are hung, including loving closeups of mummified feline carcasses. There's a lot of that happening lately.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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