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Film Review by Emily Rickard

Posted Date: 02 September 2009 at 04:47:55PM



Starring Emily Barclay, Michael Dorman, Ben Mendelsohn.
Director: David Caesar
Release Date: 12th November 2009


This fifth feature film from Australian Writer/Director David Caeser, Prime Mover, is a love story about the pressure of ambition, the responsibility of money and the passion shared by a man, a woman and his truck.


Set in Dubbo, this love story is strewn against a backdrop of oversize truck drivers, money lending and drug abuse. There is an unusual aspect of unique and magical realism in Prime Mover. While the acting style is naturalistic, the world that the characters inhabit is exaggerated. The heightened realism of this world and Melissa's (Emily Barclay) gypsy style enhances the visceral nature of Thomas's (Michael Dorman) internal world.


The first time we witnessed Barclay and Dorman together (Suburban Mayhem, 2007) they were also lovers, but of a different kind. This time around add a little more love and less violence and you have another match made in heaven.


Whilst working and painting in the mechanical and paint shop for truckies a naive young Thomas fantasizes of owning and driving his own prime mover - a huge, bitumen eating chrome metal juggernaut as powerful and unstoppable as his love for Melissa, a disarming Dubbo beauty, who he meets in the local servo.


Going against advice from his friends and family he enters into the world of truck drivers. Thomas is encouraged by an older and slightly sinister Johnnie (Mendelsohn) to enter into a loan agreement outside of any bank in order to fulfill his fantasy.


Loaded up with big dreams, big credit and soon a new family, young Thomas bites off a little more than he can chew. Once he's a real truckie hauling loads day and night in his beloved truck and driving faster and faster he finds that he needs help staying awake. Enter Mendelsohn once more - to encourage poor Thomas down another road of amphetamine abuse and self-destruction. As the screws of responsibility and reality tighten Thomas must decide between sanity, family or his diesel powered dreams.


Barclay stars not only as Melissa, Thomas's wife, but also as the sexy wrench wielding Calender Girl in his truck (and mind) who constantly urges him into mischief and mayhem. Here we see a little of the Barclay we know and love - a vixen in her own right.


Although the bond between this young married couple is strong Dorman's character shows a sense of total loss of control over feelings for his truck. It rules him and therefore adds to a breakdown in their relationship. Interestingly, Caesar wanted to write a film, not only about falling in love, but about the reality of actually staying in love.


Love may conquer all, but it doesn't pay the bills and in this modern day fable there is a very strong message being sent - be careful what you wish might just come back and bite you.


- Emily Rickard








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