Last Train to Freo
Directed by Jeremy Sims
Porkchop Productions and Taylor Media
distributed by madman.com.au
After a brief run in cinemas last year, Jeremy Sims’ debut as a film director, Last Train to Freo, has been released on DVD thanks to Madman Entertainment. Adapted by Reg Cribb from his own theatre script The Return, the film is set in a late-night carriage on the Midland to Fremantle line and follows two small-time crooks (Steve Le Marquand and Tom Budge) as they head into the city to kill their boredom. When a pretty young law student (Gigi Edgley) boards, the trip threatens to take a very different direction.
This is a very tight film. The writing, while explicitly theatrical (as too is the performance of Le Marquand as the Tall Thug), is engaging and the psychological suspense is solidly built. The direction from Sims is on the whole very disciplined, given the challenge of shooting the story in real-time, and he has evoked some decent performances from his small cast. Tom Budge and Gillian Jones in particular show themselves in great form. In a way, this is the kind of Australian film we should be seeing more of; tightly managed, strongly written and well-cast, it is not a seat-filler by any stretch but it tells a largely engrossing story in an authentic Australian voice. The film’s central conceit might be difficult to credit for some, but if accepted Last Train to Freo carries the viewer to an affecting denouement.
It is smaller films such as this that reflect the underlying health of Australian film, and Sims is to be applauded for his effort. It will be interesting to see where Pork Chop, his production team, go from here. One thing is certain, and that is that if their next effort is as polished as Last Train to Freo, we can look forward to some interesting work from this company.