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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday, July 25, 2014 - Edition No 907 

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LUCKY MILES: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
It's 1990 and an Indonesian fishing boat abandons a dozen Iraqi and Cambodian refugees on a remote Western Australian beach, promising them that a bus over the sandhills will soon come and take them to Perth. When the fishing boat sinks on its way home, the two people smugglers also end up in the empty outback. Most of the men are quickly caught, except for two of the asylum seekers and one of the fishermen. The three, Arun (Kenneth Moraleda), Youssif (Rodney Afif) and the fisherman Ramelan (Srisacd Sacdpraseuth), with nothing in common but their misfortune and determination, escape arrest and begin an epic journey through the deserted landscape. Laconically pursued by an army reservist unit, they bicker amongst themselves as they try to find a big town - like Broome or Perth - without the slightest idea of the distances involved.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's a buddy movie without buddies; a road movie without a road; a chase movie with nowhere to go. Lucky Miles is a unique Australian story, bringing together three fish-out-of water characters thrown together out of necessity. While the story about asylum-seeking refugees is political in nature, the result is compellingly entertaining as filmmaker Michael James Rowland injects wry humour into the dramatic situations. Striking remote Australian settings and diverse, engaging performances make this a film like no other.

When we first meet the group of Iraqi and Cambodian refugees who swim to the promise of a new life on the pristine sands of Western Australia, we have no idea what their future will hold. Central to the story is the plight of three outcasts who find their fates intertwined when the merciless desert offers no option. Iraqi engineer Youssif (Rodney Afif) who comes from Basra, a city of gardens and fountains, finds himself figuratively handcuffed to Arun (Kenneth Moraleda), a Cambodian in search of his Australian father, and to Indonesian fisherman Ramelan (Srisacd Sacdpraseuth), whose boat has sunk. Each is an outcast and together they battle the heat, isolation, lack of water and their constant irritation of each other. Their plight is fraught with misadventure, as is the plight of their pursuers (the army reserve crew of Kangaroo 4), and the two remaining crew from the boat.

Geoff Burton's cinematography is outstanding as it immerses us into the wild grasses, the desolate sands, the rocky terrain and the flame-coloured skies. The tone projected is one that sardonically reflects the often tragically amusing plight of all the characters. We become involved in all of their lives as refugees, army reserve patrol members and boat crew find themselves at the mercy of the harsh Australian sun and the elements. This is a film worth discovering - just as its diverse characters discover their fate in a new country.

There's a director's commentary on the DVD, plus deleted scenes, a making of featurette and theatrical trailer.

Published December 6, 2007



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LUCKY MILES: DVD (MA)
(Aust, 2007)

CAST: Kenneth Moraleda, Rodney Afif, Sri Sacdprascuth, Glenn Shea, Don Hany, Sean Mununggurr, Sawung Jabo, Arif Hidayat

PRODUCER: Jo Dyer, Lesley Dyer

DIRECTOR: Michael James Rowland

SCRIPT: Michael James Rowland, Helen Barnes

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Geoff Burton ACS

EDITOR: Henry Dangar

MUSIC: Trilok Gurtu

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Pete Baxter

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 19, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes, making of, the background to, trailer, director's commentary

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: December 6, 2007







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