Posted on 20 January 2016
The jury of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting has awarded its annual prize to Jeremy Sim’s Last Cab to Darwin (ICON Films. Released 6 August 2015).
Based on the true story of Max Bell, a taxi driver from Broken Hill, who died in 1996, aged 66, Last Cab to Darwin charts Max’s journey from being diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer to Darwin, where he finds a doctor who will euthanise him.
Jury chair Fr Richard Leonard SJ observed that most people who did not see this film assumed it was part of the pro-euthanasia lobby. “It might start out presenting that way, but ends up a deeply humane story of love and the dignity of life. It puts on the big screen some of the arguments against euthanasia,” Fr Richard said.
A moving story of a dying man searching for the meaning of life in the face of death, it shows how Max finds love and friendship through facing mortality. By journey’s end Max discovers how to love, rather than how to die.
The enormity of the emotional narrative is played out against the enormity of the Australian outback where disintegration, recreation and transformation are all on offer in regard to a range of complex issues such as race, masculinity, and fear. This film is not about euthanasia.
“Part road film, part drama, part black comedy, Last Cab to Darwin wears its Australian vernacular and laconic heart on its sleeve, but the journey upon which it embarks with the audience is unexpected and deeply humane,” Fr Leonard said.
The jury also commended Robert Connelly’s Paper Planes.
Fr Richard Leonard SJ is Director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.