Australia is host to the oldest continuous living culture on the planet as well as some of the most amazing though deadly animals of all time. However, it is near and dear to me for its fantastic independent movie scene. From the effervescent editing of One Perfect Day to the genre-bending insanity of The Faceless Man, there’s something in the country that inspires grand artistry, even if one isn’t from Australia.
Case in point, writer/director Chad Peter’s Road To Perth. Peter was born in Colorado and raised in California. But, his first feature in roughly a decade is a road trip across, you guessed it, Australia! It serves as a loving ode to the small towns and beautiful vistas the continent offers, which must’ve surely nudged the filmmaker into making the feature. But that’s enough about my infatuation with Australia; what is this drama about?
“…two somewhat broken souls are on the road to Perth.”
Alex (Tommy O’Brien) is reeling from his ex turning down his marriage proposal. Now, in a state of shock, he goes on a trip to Australia, an excursion intended as a happy step forward for the would-be husband and wife. In each town he visits, Alex photographs a local who explains what makes their tiny hamlet so wonderful. A short way into the trip, a buddy of Alex’s asks him to pick up his sister, Ronnie (Hannah Lehman), who needs a ride to Perth.
So, now the two somewhat broken souls are on the road to Perth. Every new city offers a chance for Alex and Ronnie’s bond to grow deeper and deeper. Do they find solace in each other, or does life kick them while they’re down?
Peter wrote the screenplay with input from his stars, as O’Brien and Lehman are credited as collaborating writers. Presumably, this means that they had a hand in their characters’ lines and arc while the director fleshed out the broad strokes. But, however things broke down with the writing duties of Road To Perth, it all pays off big time. On paper, Alex could come across as whiny and obnoxious, especially as his relationship with his ex occurs before the story begins. Of course, that means audiences have no way of truly understanding his loss or why he wanted to marry that person in the first place (see Prisoner Of Second Avenue for reference, as that story does not work because of when it starts).
"…Australia is host to...[a] fantastic independent movie scene."