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:: Prime Mover

Road movies are a popular genre for many reasons, including that it helps the cinema goer feel as though the film really has some sort of direction. That they are actually being taken somewhere, from start to finish. What is even more poetic is when such a film is teamed with the Australian Outback. This is sublimely done in new Aussie film Prime Mover. But rather than a Cadillac or motorbike, the cinema goer gets to hop into a prime mover. Or, in other words, a diesel-charged truck. And, the journey doesn’t go from A to B exactly, but takes many diverse paths in between.

It follows the love story of Michael Dorman and Emily Barclay (who also teamed up in Suburban Mayhem), from their first contact when Barclay, as Melissa, is working as a service station attendant and Dorman, as Thomas, is helping out his Dad, a diesel mechanic. It then follows Melissa falling pregnant to Thomas – exactly what her man-hating, alcoholic, single mother predicted. Though, the pair, with stars in their eyes, decides to marry and prove the naysayers wrong about their young relationship being doomed from the start. Thomas’s big dream is to own his own gleaming truck and this is a fantasy viewed through rose-tinted glasses. In a hurry to realise his dream, he borrows money from a loan shark. This is when things begin to unravel, with Thomas trying to keep up with his hefty repayments and dealing with the darker elements of the trucking industry and Melissa rearing their baby daughter on her own in a caravan in the bush.

Ben Mendelsohn and Gyton Grantley do well as slightly idiotic criminals, who rough Thomas up a little along the way. The film has some poignant moments about what happens when you actually realise your dream – and then discover it’s not what you thought it would be. This point is made from Thomas’s dream truck to Melissa’s longing to meet her gypsy father, only to find out he’s actually a run-of-the-mill real estate agent.

Prime Mover is a likeable film, celebrating Australia’s daggy, suburban heart in a similar vein to Strictly Ballroom and Muriel’s Wedding. It would be nice to see Australian filmmakers step a little outside of this style (dose of glamour, anyone?), but, all in all, it’s a pleasing film, well worth seeing.

Prime Mover will screen exclusively throughout regional NSW for a two-week season from October 29, before opening nationally on November 12.