Cactus - Travis McMahon, David Lyons, Bryan Brown, Jasmine Yuen Carrucan
Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities
Choose the wrong road and you're cactus.
To gain some much needed cash John Kelly (Travis McMahon) accepts a job to kidnap and deliver professional gambler Eli Jones (David Lyons) to his keepers in the Australian outback: No questions asked. The kidnapping is meticulously planned, but the road John chooses takes him on a dark journey where every choice has tragic consequences.
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film Australia crime thriller outback kidnap gambler Ford Holden trucker desert escape Western revenge murder
Persons of interest
- Travis McMahon .... John Kelly
- David Lyons .... Eli Jones
- Bryan Brown .... Rosco
- Shane Jacobson .... Thommo
- Daniel Krige .... Mal
- Celia Ireland .... Vesna
- Zoe Tuckwell-Smith .... Sam
- Steve Rodgers .... Spuddo
- Seymon Eckert .... Katie
- Russell Hunt
- Robert Shearim
- Jasmine Yuen Carrucan .... Screenwriter
- Jasmine Yuen Carrucan .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- Cactus official movie site
- Cactus film production notes
- Cactus QuickTime movie trailers
- Awards and film festivals:
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
If you're theatre-literate you might want to retitle this movie Waiting for Gazza.
Cactus is a Western set in the western dry of the great state of New South Wales, a place that's as dry as a dead dingo's donger. (Hee, hee, hee, I've always wanted to say that.) Like that other great, recent Aussie Western, The proposition, this is a land with no forgiveness, peopled with... um... people with no forgiveness. It's a tough life on the other side of the Blue Mountains.
Jasmine Yuen Carrucan's script is full of questions and blank space, deliberately left unfilled as a metaphor for the wide open land through which the men are passing (Are we there yet?). It also effectively demonstrates the information vacuum in which Eli Jones (played by David Lyons aka ET from Sea Patrol - doesn't that make you wonder what those seamen get up to when on shore leave?) exists. His tight-lipped tormentor, John Kelly, is ably presented by Travis McMahon, a man who is low on the ladder but doing his job as best he can. Meanwhile, Kelly has his own persecutor in the person of Sheriff Rosco, a small part for Aussie acting legend Bryan Brown, who also executive-produced the film.
What I like best is Jasmine's use of off-screen characters: Rosco's anti-smoking wife, Kelly's boss, Jones' victims. They contribute a lot of tension and humour without once stepping in front of the camera. It's a clever (and cheap) move.
Despite the slow pace (and the Ford vs Holden debate - I ride a push-bike) I quite enjoyed Cactus for its canny characterisations and ever-mounting tension.
No Holdens were harmed during the making of this movie.
The Australia, crime, thriller movie Cactus is directed by Jasmine Yuen Carrucan and stars Travis McMahon, David Lyons, Bryan Brown.
Government security censorship classification
M (Moderate violence, moderate coarse language and sexual references)
89 minutes (1:29 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
Film: 1 May 2008