Film & TV

Film Review: Roadkill

This thrilling new Australian feature was shot mostly in SA’s Riverland.

absolutely worth seeing.

I was expecting gore and guts, based on the promo video which hints at the violence to come. I’m usually a Pixar and comedy movie kind of guy, but Roadkill is not a gore-fest at all.

This is a psychological thriller that plays with your emotions, all the while showcasing the land around Renmark. It’s not the sort of soil you’d expect anywhere past Coober Pedy, but it is rich soil. And it has the typical long straight roads that go on forever, where there’s no phone signal and so no way of contacting help if you break down. In this movie, you definitely don’t want to break down.

And it is this ‘car broken down’ scenario that starts this most excellent movie. Our protagonist, young and full of life, holds up other cars on these very long straight roads and robs them of their valuables—cash, wallets full of credit cards, mobile phones, car keys—and drives away, only to throw out of the window anything he doesn’t want, like wallets once he’s taken the cash, and car keys. He doesn’t kill them—he’s not a killer, just a common petty thief. The killing comes later, but not by our main character.

Roadkill was written, directed and stars young South Australian film maker Alexander Whitrow. It follows the story of Connor Shelby, a young thief who finds himself caught in the crossfire of an ongoing police investigation after he holds up a serial killer.

Alexander explained, “whilst Roadkill is a tense Aussie thriller, behind the scenes it’s truly an underdog story. Telling the story of an anti‐hero was always so much more interesting to me than showing the film from either the villain’s or the cop’s perspective. It makes us question our morals, as in he’s not a good guy, but we want to see him succeed”

Much of the movie was shot, over two years, in broad daylight. Ask any painter or colour photographer and they will tell you that is the worst time to take images. The light is harsh, hard and unflattering to faces. Claudia had to create a poster that conjured up feelings of the bush—red soil, relentless setting sun, a lack of water, grit and dirt. She aced it, but it took a lot of work to get there. She deserves all of the accolades she has achieved from her peers over the years.

I also have to commend the soundtrack—at times pulsating and driving, at times chilling, the movie brings together some of the finest of South Australia’s talent with the added bonus of the considerable talents of Yurii Radko, a composer from war-torn Ukraine There is never a jarring moment in the movie’s music, it all works seamlessly to create menace and suspense. Bravo the entire team.

Reviewed by Lee Hopkins

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