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Australia 1988
Directed by
Barry Peak
96 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

As Time Goes By

Released the same year as the box office hit Young Einstein, and in the same quirky Australian comedy territory, Barry Peak's film with its tongue-in-cheek humour has admittedly more cult than popular appeal but as a film it is much better than Yahoo's Serious's inexplicably commercially successful effort.

A kind of Antipodean re-working of Back To The Future (1985) it has Nique Needles (real name Cornelius Delaney) playing Mike, a surfer meeting a stranger, Joe Bogart (Max Gillies), 50 miles west of the back-of-Bourke town of Dingo thanks to a note left to him by his now-dead mother 25 years earlier. Mike finds Bogart, a visitor from outer space who needs his help to repair his spacecraft so that he can return home. Along the way Mike meets a taciturn policeman (Bruno Lawrence) and a good-looking station owner (Marcelle Schmitz)

The Australian Outback is, of course, a familiar place for weird goings-on and eccentric characters but an alien visitation is a novel twist. Peak's script is well-written, albeit a little too slow in the early stages, and is peppered with some suitably dry humour and an endearingly absurdist spirit.

The cast is excellent with an outstanding Max Gillies machine-gun talking his way through a series of lines quoted from classic Hollywood films including, of course, those of his namesake (Peak and producer Chris Keily with their cult-oriented Valhalla Cinema Group had already tried a similar referential trick with Future Schlock in 1986). Ray Barrett is in uncharacteristic but fine comic form as a delusional cockie whose greed threatens to ruin Joe''s plans of returning home. Also notable is Don Bridges as shop-keeper obsessed with dust in a town which is built on the stuff. Sometime pop singer Jane Clifton appears as the mechanic and comedian Mitchell Faircloth (aka Slim Whittle) plays the UFO-chasing scientist.




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