East End Film Festival: West Of Sunshine

West Of Sunshine
West Of Sunshine
Directed by Jason Raftopoulos
Starring Damian Hill, Ty Perham, Kat Stewart, Arthur Angel, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Faye Smythe, Eliza D’Souza, Liam Seymour, Christopher Laino and Kaarin Fairfax
Screening at EEFF April 19th, 2018

by Bernie C. Byrnes

Jim (Damian Hill) is having a bad day. And that’s just the day we see. By the time the film starts he’s been having a rough time of it all round: separated from his wife, addicted to gambling, failing as a father and going nowhere.

Jim has less than a day to repay a violent loan shark, Banos (Tony Nikolakopoulos), when his day is further derailed by having to look after his son, Alex (Ty Perham). Their relationship is tested as Jim’s plans to pay back the loan fail and his last desperate effort to repay the debt puts his son’s life at risk.

West Of Sunshine is full of pleasing contradictions. Much of the action takes place in the claustrophobic confines of a car, while outside the window Australia unfolds. Jim is an unsophisticated man-child with a smaller vocabulary than his convincingly un-verbal teenage son and yet non-verbally both performers communicate volumes. Jim is a character so obtusely lost in his own downfall that you want to shake him, but it is impossible not to like him – care for him even.

There is a predictability to much of the film, which leads the viewer to, thankfully, the wrong conclusions about where all this is headed. Just when it looks like Jim will have no way of avoiding self-destruction, he turns his life around. For today at least – there are clearly a whole host of nasties waiting in the wings to land on his frustratingly unsuspecting head in the morning.

The ending is remarkably hopeful but I suspect in the long-term, life will not pan out well for Jim without some serious professional help!

Leave a Reply