Directed by: Ren Thackham
Written by: Ren Thackham
Starring: Danny Bolt, Lee Priest
Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
The Rover meets Groundhog Day with a touch of Mad Max in this short Australian comedy, written and directed by Ren Thackham. Round Trip is a blisteringly funny journey into the wild where anything can, and does, happen.
Danny Bolt plays Constable Rose, a charming and likeable cop hoping for the easy transport of a prisoner in the back of his police car. Said prisoner, Ned (Lee Priest), is anything but cooperative though, and seeks escape at his first opportunity. However, their current location is in the massive unknown that is the Australian outback, where strange things start to happen.
Brilliantly filmed, wickedly funny, and intelligently paced, Thackham steers with both hands on Round Trip for a thrilling and controlled viewing experience. The laughs come when they are supposed to, especially from the banter between Priest and Bolt. One of my favourite moments is when Bolt’s police officer talks about wanting a tattoo to the largely inked Ned. It was a perfect example of great timing and characterisation.
The location is used spectacularly. With the unforgiving sun a constant menace, contrasting wonderfully with the breathtaking landscapes and endless horizons. There are also some pretty impressive stunts thrown in for good measure, with Constable Rose’s cop car being flipped a couple of times.
It was fantastic to see Thackham’s script hold up to the strain of attempting multiple genres. The coalescing elements of comedy, action, mystery and horror could so easily have been too much for another filmmaker to hold their balance, but Thackham holds the reins tighter than Ned’s skin-tight vest against his bulging muscles. The lines are funny throughout and there is a genuinely compelling degree of peril and intrigue from the storyline. To say much more would spoil it but you should most definitely seek this film out.
I would perhaps have liked a little bit more exposition than is given. Only to help me invest more into the two characters and the dangerous situation they find themselves in. That being said, the charisma of the performers goes a long way to assist this. The performances are excellent, Priest playing the unstable criminal with impressive amounts of humour. Bolt is utterly hilarious as the Aussie officer, delivering some of the most memorable moments in Round Trip.
Everything I have said in this film review goes a way to attest to the splendour of Thackham’s short film, but two words come to mind if you are looking for a more concise conclusion. Fair dinkum.