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Last Cab to Darwin is a 2015 Australian film directed by Jeremy Sims and written by Sims and Reg Cribb. Based on Cribb's 2003 play of the same name, it stars Michael Caton, Ningali Lawford, Mark Coles Smith, Emma Hamilton, and Jacki Weaver, who was in the original cast of the play. Like the play, the film was inspired by the true story of Max Bell, a taxi driver who traveled from Broken Hill to Darwin to seek euthanasia after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Last Cab to Darwin
Last Cab to Darwin (film).png
Australian theatrical release poster
Directed byJeremy Sims
Produced byLisa Duff
Greg Duffy
Jeremy Sims
Written byReg Cribb
Jeremy Sims
Based onLast Cab to Darwin by
Reg Cribb
StarringMichael Caton
Ningali Lawford
Mark Coles Smith
Emma Hamilton
Jacki Weaver
Music byEd Kuepper
CinematographySteve Arnold
Edited byMarcus D'Arcy
Release date
  • 6 June 2015 (2015-06-06) (Sydney Film Festival)
Running time
123 minutes
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Box officeA$8 million[1]

Contents

PlotEdit

Rex, a taxi driver in his 70s, has spent nearly his entire life in the New South Wales city of Broken Hill. He has a close relationship with his Aboriginal neighbor Polly, but because of racial tensions, is resistant to becoming romantically involved. Rex's life changes when he is diagnosed with cancer and told he will not survive longer than three months. Refusing to become committed to a hospital, he learns that a euthanasia device has been invented at a clinic in the Northern Territory capital city of Darwin. Rex contacts the inventor of the device, Dr. Nicole Farmer, and volunteers to serve as the device's first patient. Due to euthanasia only being legal in the Northern Territory, Rex embarks on a 3,000 kilometer journey to Darwin to end his life on his own terms. He leaves behind a will, which grants ownership of his home to Polly.

On the way to Darwin, Rex is joined by Tilly, an Aboriginal drifter. Tilly reveals to Rex that he received an offer to join a football club, but turned it down, and eventually admits he did so out of fear. The men are later accompanied by Julie, an English backpacker and nurse. When they reach their destination, the group learns from Dr. Farmer that the euthanasia cannot legally proceed without approval from a psychological and medical expert. As he waits to be interviewed by the experts, Rex has Tilly join the football club he originally turned down. He also contacts Polly, despite her anger at him for trying to end his life, and admits that he wanted to ask for her hand in marriage. She calls him back and says she would have accepted.

Rex's interview with a medical expert becomes delayed and he winds up becoming hospitalized, which he was attempting to avoid. Unable to wait any longer, he has Julie hook him up to the device. Rex answers the questions required to initiate the euthanasia procedure, but as the drugs start to head towards his bloodstream, he disconnects himself. Deciding he does not want to end his life, Rex drives back to Broken Hill, assisted by medication Julie provided. While Rex heads home with minimal rest, Tilly prepares to play in his first football game and Julie returns to England.

Arriving at his house, an exhausted Rex is greeted by Polly on his front porch. The two hold hands as Rex loses consciousness and watch the sun set.

CastEdit

Additionally, Brian Taylor portrays the coach of Tilly's football club. Mercia Deane-Johns appears as Fay, a barmaid.

ProductionEdit

The script for the film was adapted as a screenplay by Jeremy Sims and Reg Cribb. Sims' association with Reg Cribb began when his production company, Pork Chop Productions produced a successful stage version. The film was given the go-ahead by Screen Australia in October 2013 as one of six films to share in $5.4 million government funding.[2]

Shooting was scheduled to take place between May and June 2014.[3]

Historical backgroundEdit

The play and film are modeled on the true story of Max Bell, a taxi driver from Broken Hill who made the 3000 kilometre trip from Broken Hill to Darwin in 1996 seeking euthanasia. Like Rex in the film, Bell also drove back to Broken Hill, but Bell did so reluctantly. He had been unable to obtain the signatures required to proceed with euthanasia in Darwin and died slowly in hospital in Broken Hill, the fate he was trying to avoid.[4]

The euthanasia device invented by the fictional Nicole Farmer in the film is based on Australian physician Philip Nitschke's Deliverance Machine, which was used legally in the Northern Territory while the Rights of the Terminally Act was in effect.[5]

ReceptionEdit

Last Cab to Darwin received positive reviews from critics and audiences, earning a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 32 reviews with an average rating of 7.1 out of 10.[6]

AccoladesEdit

Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(5th)
Best Film Lisa Duff Nominated
Greg Duffy Nominated
Jeremy Sims Nominated
Best Direction Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Reg Cribb Won
Best Actor Michael Caton Won
Best Actress Ningali Lawford Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Mark Coles Smith Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Emma Hamilton Nominated
Best Cinematography Steve Arnold Nominated
People's Choice Award for
Favourite Australian Film
Lisa Duff Nominated
Greg Duffy Nominated
Jeremy Sims Nominated
ADG Award Best Direction in a Feature Film Nominated
AFCA Awards Best Film Lisa Duff Nominated
Greg Duffy Nominated
Jeremy Sims Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Reg Cribb Nominated
Best Actor Michael Caton Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Mark Coles Smith Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Emma Hamilton Nominated
AWGIE Award Best Writing in a Feature Film – Adapted Jeremy Sims Nominated
Reg Cribb Nominated
CGA Award Best Film Casting Kirsty McGregor Won
FCCA Awards Best Film Lisa Duff Nominated
Greg Duffy Nominated
Jeremy Sims Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Script/Screenplay Nominated
Reg Cribb Nominated
Best Actor Michael Caton Won
Best Supporting Actor Mark Coles Smith Won
Best Supporting Actress Emma Hamilton Nominated
Ningali Lawford Nominated
Best Cinematography Steve Arnold Nominated
Sydney Film Festival Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Jeremy Sims Runner-up

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "An Aussie box office success?". Radio National. 27 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Media Releases 2013: Nicole Kidman heads home to star in Strangerland". Screen Australia. 18 October 2013. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014.
  3. ^ Roberts, Emily (20 May 2014). "Last Cab shooting wraps up". Barrier Daily Truth. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Last Cab to Darwin not the real story of voluntary euthanasia". Stuff. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  5. ^ Kathryn Jean Lopez (5 June 2001), Euthanasia Sets Sail An interview with Philip Nitschke, the other “Dr. Death.”, archived from the original on 15 April 2016, retrieved 18 April 2016
  6. ^ Last Cab To Darwin (2016), retrieved 18 August 2019

External linksEdit