Siam Sunset (1999, Linus Roache)

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91 min - Comedy, Foreign, Romance - 9 September 1999
Our rating:

This comic Australian road movie from the producer of The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (and partially funded by Channel 4) "adeptly mixes satirical barbs, slapstick and violent mayhem with a little sex, and adroitly meshes familiar material with left-field surprises," according to Empire .

Linus Roache ( Priest , Wings Of The Dove ) plays reserved Englishman, Perry. He loves his wife, Maree (VICTORIA HILL), and he loves his job - creating new colours for a paint company. But Perry's life has always been dogged by accidents, and his world is literally flattened when a fridge-freezer falls from a passing aircraft and kills Maree. So when he wins a vacation in Australia, Perry jumps at the chance to escape his misery and misfortune. And who knows, it might offer inspiration for an elusive shade of red ('Siam Sunset') that he's been searching for.

Perry's hopes of some r 'n r quickly fade, however, when he sees what he's actually won - a budget class coach tour run by miserable git, Bill Leach (ROY BILLING), through the Outback's lesser scenic spots. Worse still, Perry's fellow passengers - an aggressive bunch of Aussie anglophobes - take an instant dislike to the introverted Pom, and the journey quickly deteriorates into the holiday from hell.

Relief arrives when lovely, feisty Grace (DANIELLE CORMACK) hitches a ride on the bus. She's as disaster-prone as Perry, and after a shaky start their relationship blossoms into a romance in which Perry finally finds his Siam Sunset, his inner peace. But the new-found tranquility doesn't last. Grace is on the run from her violent, drug-dealing ex, Martin (IAN BLISS). She's pinched his money, and the film accelerates to a vicious denouement when he catches up with the party to retrieve his stash.

Produced by Al Clark, who also produced Priscilla... , this is a "briskly paced, visually lush film….(that is) consistently pleasurable and engaging" (Variety). It mines rich humour from a busload of quirky characters causing havoc in the inhospitable Outback. It also has a dig at cultural prejudice, in this case mocking the arrogant Aussie archetypes who travel with mild-mannered Brit, Perry.

Director:  John Polson
Writers:  Max Dann, Andrew Knight
Composer:  Paul Grabowsky
Director of Photography:  Brian J. Breheny


Production Details

Release Date:  9 September 1999

Running Time:  1 h 31 min

Genres: Comedy, Foreign, Romance
Country:   Australia

Language:  English

Budget and Box Office takings where known