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Friday, 23 November 2007

Death Proof

Is it worth wading through ninety minutes of dreary chit-chat to see the most thrilling car chase ever filmed? That’s the question to ask before checking out Death Proof. Writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s sharp ear for dialogue deserts him in this sluggish tale of a group of young women who sit around and talk for close to forty minutes until stunt-car driver turned serial killer Stuntman Mike (the excellent Kurt Russell) finally and fatally runs them off the road in his specially modified ‘death proof’ car. Then another four girls come along and we start all over again.

Staggering from the wreckage of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s failed Grindhouse feature (where two short trashy films and fake trailers were combined into one box-office flop), Death Proof is a love letter to 70’s exploitation films. Unfortunately, Tarantino gets the details right but forgets to make things interesting – until the final car chase, featuring Mike versus a car with New Zealand stuntwoman Zoe Bell (playing herself) tied to the bonnet. This CGI-free sequence is astounding, nail-biting stuff. It’s Tarantino’s best film-making to date, trapped inside (probably) his worst film.

Anthony Morris
(This review first appeared in edition #291 of The Big Issue Australia, 5 November 2007)


Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) leads a bland life as manager of a Seattle call centre. Then he’s told that his job is being outsourced to India. If he wants to keep his stock options he’s going to have to go there and train the new workforce.

Cue Bombay’s heat and chaos, and an encounter with some dodgy ice confectionary. Still, Todd’s Indian hosts prove charming, and his new employees are quirky, resourceful and eager to learn the American accent. Sweetening the brew is the lovely Asha (Ayesha Dharker), a spirited Indian girl who’s not afraid to laugh at Todd and tell him that he needs to learn ‘the Indian way’.

Written by George Wing (50 First Dates) and directed by newcomer John Jeffcoat, Outsourced gently and humorously addresses our worst fears about globalization and the people whose voices we hear on the other end of the line; suggesting that if our third world cousins are this generous and enterprising, surely they deserve the work .Yes, it’s romantic comedy, and presents an almost too sweet view of the world, but it’s a colorful trip to a friendly place that’s well worth visiting.

Rochelle Siemienowicz

(This review first appeared in edition#291 of The Big Issue Australia, 5 November 2007)