Directed by: Glendyn Ivin. I feel some strange allure when it comes to Australian films. It certainly owes more to my perception of the country and its history, its culture, etc, than with the state of its film industry. That being said, my limited experience with that film industry is pretty positive—Walkabout, The Proposition, Animal Kingdom, Andrew Dominik’s Jesse James movie—all great movies. And I had a hunch that, beyond all the Wachowski Brothers makeup and CGI spectacle, Hugo Weaving was actually one of the great actors around. This film definitely confirmed that suspicion. For a man usually cast as a voice actor (Transformers), or covered under makeup or behind a mask (seriously every fucking Wachowski movie), Hugo is an amazingly talented actor. Maybe that’s what lies behind the power of this performance, the fact that it’s so unexpected to see him in such a bare, direct, simple role. His co-lead, the youngster Tom Russell, gives one of the best performances by a kid I’ve ever seen—the role demands a lot and the kid delivers, fully keeping up with Hugo’s amazing ability to convey overlapping, dense, sometimes inscrutable emotions and thoughts in his face. This kid is no Hugo, of course—not yet—but he’s pretty damn good. And besides the acting in this basically two-person cast, I just absolutely fucking loved this film. I loved the simple, direct, naturalistic dialogue, I loved the unique narrative, based on a common enough outlaw road movie but made utterly fresh and unique in the details, I loved the camera composition, the lighting (all natural lighting to capture the backwards beauty of a late-night gas station overhead fluorescent lamp), the minimal music and sound design. This is easily one of the best films I’ve ever seen, overall, and I could recommend it to anyone. It has a compelling, simple, direct human story centered around two amazing leads, and it’s executed with subtlety and conveys great beauty amidst ugliness and blandness. It’s a film I could chew on for years or simply watch with mindless abandon. Now THAT’S what I call a great movie.