RE-VIEW: Hail the Last Cab to Darwin if you can

SO I finally caught the Last Cab to Darwin, where television veteran Michael Caton (Packed to the Rafters, The Sullivans) plays Rex, a stoic, gentle taxi driver from Broken Hill who is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Yep, tough to find anyone these days who's life hasn't been touched by the Big 'C'. The question for Rex, who is determined not to see out his remaining days in a hospital bed, is what else he can do about it. It's then he hears of the Northern Territory's new euthanasia legislation and a Dr Farmer (Jacki Weaver) who could help him leave this world in the manner in which he wishes.

Of course this is fiction, as euthanasia is still currently illegal in all states and territories of Australia.

Fiercely debated by all sides, the subject will always provoke controversy in our democratic society where our religious and moral traditions are often upheld at the expense of the individual's right of choice.

At the centre no doubt, is how to manage a system of controlled euthanasia - for those who are sick and dying - with bureaucratic protocols.

How do you treat every case the same when every case is different? It is a minefield of legal and ethical dilemmas. But does that mean we don't proceed with finding a solution, as messy as it may be?

Whatever the answer, and I sure don't have it, we don't have the whole end of life thing worked out at all. Not even close. How many reading this had or have a relative in nursing care - slowly fading away in front of them? Or worse still, their mind sharp but their body failing.

The movie is sweet and idealised - never letting the debate overtake the characters and the plotting. And it has been popular too, proving we Australians do like a bit of substance with our melodrama.

Catch it if you still can.

Topics:  film opinion re-view

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