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Australia 1999
Directed by
John Polson
92 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Siam Sunset

John Polson is an actor with a decent track record in Australian film, winning an AFI award for his performance in The Boys (1997). Here he proves himself to be a skilful director although one working with commercially-conceived material.

Penned by Max Dann and Andrew Knight Siam Sunset displays a remarkable resemblance to the disappointing Welcome To Woop Woop (1997), to wit, good-looking foreigner (Linus Roache) finds himself stranded in the Outback where he experiences bizarre Australian eccentricities before settling down with good-looking Australian girl (Danielle Cormack).Given the dismal reception of the latter film it is somewhat surprising this one goes down such a similar stylistic path of surreal black humour, albeit toned down in most respects.

The film possesses moments of charm, such as in the face-off between two tour bus captains (Roy Billing and Alan Lovell) and the burgeoning romance between the two leads, with its device of the “outsider” point-of-view, but it  belabours Australian quirkiness/crudity, Some aspects, such as abusive drug-dealing doctor boyfriend (Ian Bliss) are too obviously included to add a darker, cultish twist to the tale but only detract from the core themes.

Overall Siam Sunset is a surprisingly (it took only 38 days to shoot) well-made film with fine photography by Brian Breheny who did The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994) and a quality score by Paul Grabowsky but, certainly for anyone familiar with the style, it is overly derivative.




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