Lucky Miles

Lucky Miles

****

Reviewed by: Rob Reid

This is a little gem. Beginning with an act of treachery and betrayal, it develops into a wonderfully matter-of-fact study of decency and determination. There are no big stars but delicate direction and masterful underplaying by a great ensemble cast let the film shine brightly nonetheless.

A long and weary journey begins when a fishing boat dumps a dozen illegal immigrants on a remote beach on the coast of Western Australia. They are told a bus awaits them on the far side of a massive sand dune – but when they finally scale it, they find nothing but a huge stretch of desert.

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The refugess split into two groups of six, and set off in different directions to try to find the elusive transport. The men are gradually picked off by the authorities, leaving just three men - Yousif (Rodney Afif), Arun (Kenneth Moraleda) and Ramelan (Sri Sacdpraseuth) - to struggle on.

Each has personal motives in seeking a new life Down Under. Arun, a Cambodian, aims to find his long-lost father; Yousif is an asylum seeker and Ramelan is on the run after sinking his uncle's boat. The men have nothing in common apart from a desire to survive and find a fresh start. Their journey through the desert - pursued by a team of Army Reservists – sees them forced to pull together to find a way through.

This is a great debut by writer and director Michael James Rowland who has crafted a neat and gentle comedy-drama for his first feature film. The cinematography is superb, with the beautiful-but-deadly landscape deployed to major effect.

Interwoven strands of the plot are handled neatly, dialogue is sharp and there is not a dull performance to be seen. The pace - often a letdown - is also evenly held throughout and there is no sense of beats being skipped or pointless padding.

An economy of means often results in an economy of effect, but Rowland delivers the goods with a flourish.

Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2008
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Lucky Miles packshot
Hide and seek delivers gentle thrills in desert comedy drama.

Director: Michael James Rowland

Writer: Helen Barnes, Michael James Rowland

Starring: Kenneth Moraleda, Rodney Afif, Sri Sacdpraseuth, Glen Shea, Sean Mununggurr, Don Hany, Deborah Mailman, Sawung Jabo, Arif Hidayat, Majed Abbas, Asaad Abdulrazak

Year: 2007

Runtime: 105 minutes

Country: Australia

Festivals:

Australia 2008

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