LAST TRAIN TO FREO
At midnight on a summer night, two ex cons catch the last train from Perth city to the seaside satellite town of Fremantle; the tall one (Steve LeMarquand) has recently been released from prison, while the short one (Tom Budge) is his vulnerable side kick. Alone in the carriage and agitating for action, they start to poke fun at their own mind numbing existence, until Lisa (Gigi Edgley) a beautiful young law student gets on, alone and unaware that the rail guards are on strike. Unsettlingly, the men use their off beat charm to compete for her attention, but when two other passengers (Gillian Jones, Glenn Hazeldine) board the carriage, the balance of power changes. As the train nears its final destination, confrontations force revelations of hidden agendas and secrets that catch them all by surprise.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you didn't know the screenplay is adapted from a stage play, you'd never pick it, and that's because the film is set entirely inside a suburban Perth train and told in real time. You can't really 'open it up' for cinema, nor do you need to. Relying on the well constructed dramatic arc of the original text, Jeremy Sims makes an impressive psychological drama out of what at first seems like thin material. But even at the beginning, his direction gives the film a biting, dangerous and fascinating hook. And it soon turns it into a vicious left hook ... for a knockout film that is complex yet simple all at once.
The writing is sharp, condensed and full of layers, and the performances capture every nitro glycerine moment.
Carefully handled material like this echoes with the old arts of cinema, where character, slow but determined development and a couple of story twists are enough to keep us totally engaged. Twelve Angry Men, for example, did the same thing in that single jury room setting. Like in that film, Last Train to Freo hums with the engines of its characters, beautifully developed by the small but potent cast, notably Steve LeMarquand who is challenged to come up with the performance of his life, to carry much of the film's drive. But everyone contributes significantly to this powerful little gem, a film whose unexpected revelations explode our preconceptions in a blast of well observed humanity and confirms that we should never assume anything about anybody.
All puns aside, Last Train to Freo is a terrific ride.
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JEREMY SIMS INTERVIEW
LAST TRAIN TO FREO (MA)
CAST: Tom Budge, Steve LeMarquand, Gigi Edgley, Glenn Hazeldine and Gillian Jones
PRODUCER: Sue Taylor, Greg Duffy, Lisa Duff
DIRECTOR: Jeremy Sims
SCRIPT: Reg Cribb
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Toby Oliver
EDITOR: Merlin Cornish
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Clayton Jauncey
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 14, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
VIDEO RELEASE: February 21, 2007