Turmoil and Twists Unleashed in Outback Noir
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 33m
Director(s): Alexander Whitrow
Writer(s): Alexander Whitrow
Cast: Alexander Whitrow, Robert Bell, Sarah Milde, Edward Boyd, Erik Strauts
Where To Watch: On UK digital May 29, 2023, from Reel 2 Reel Films
RAVING REVIEW: Fasten your seatbelts, folks! ROADKILL, the directorial kick-off of Alexander Whitrow, takes us on a turbulent journey across Australia's outback. It’s a wild ride, to say the least, with more than a few speedbumps along the way and a lot of potential you can see during the trip. The harsh, unforgiving wilderness of South Australia becomes the stage for the narrative of ROADKILL. The plot centers around four people – a petty burglar, a menacing bad guy, and a duo of detectives investigating a crime.
While Australian cinema has its fair share of killer stories, ROADKILL tries to break the mold. Trading visceral violence for a more introspective, noir-tinged take, the twist is that the film introduces a unique bad guy you don’t see coming. The harsh vistas of the sun-scorched outback become a silent protagonist, plunging audiences into the very heart of Australia. Amplifying the gripping storyline, the thrilling score by Ukrainian composer Yurii Radko brilliantly resonates with the landscape.
The narrative goes through the life of a small-time thief, resorting to highway robberies in hopes of amassing a nest egg for a better life with his unsuspecting girlfriend. She thinks he's a miner while secretly tiptoeing through the world of crime. Meanwhile, the real threat is actively diverting the detectives from petty robberies to crimes with more depth.
ROADKILL is the Whitrow show, as he dons multiple hats in the production – directing, writing, producing, editing, and acting. It may have been a role or two too many while he does each position admirably; I don’t think any excels; when the focus is spread that far, it's seldom positive.
When the small-time thief's journey intersects with a more significant unknown threat, his life is suddenly thrown into turmoil. This serendipitous encounter ignites a relentless game of pursuit, who is hunting who? ROADKILL has an eclectic mix of cast members, each contributing their unique flair to the narrative. However, some moments seem unrefined; dialogue often sounds like direct excerpts from the script instead of having the flair of improv.
The story slowly reveals the circumstances that nudged our thief down the path of crime, this adds a little more oomph to the story, but it almost feels too late, as another twist with the villain is just around the corner.
In a nutshell, ROADKILL, Alexander Whitrow's inaugural directorial venture, has some intriguing moments set against the ruthless backdrop of the Australian outback. It offers viewers an adventure with some suspense, building anticipation and ultimately leaving them underwhelmed. If you have a taste for thrillers, ROADKILL is still a fun watch, just don’t expect it to rewrite the book on thrillers.
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[photo courtesy of REEL 2 REEL FILMS]