Movie: Vanguard provides a home for some of the most interesting, amusing, and intelligent films you'll find this side of Hollywood. If you're looking for a blockbuster release that's been made by committee, you probably won't find it under this label. In essence, those who are looking for movies that are at once obscure, quirky, and "different" have good reason to check out whatever the company is releasing at any given time. In Siam Sunset, I found yet another example of why movie buffs should pay attention to Vanguard.
The movie started off showing that the lead, a man named Perry, is secure in life: he has a cookie cutter home, a job as a professional (he invents colors for a paint factory), and a cute wife that adores him as much as he adores her. After a playful romp on his front lawn, his wife is killed by a refrigerator that falls of a military flight. Wow, did that change the tone quickly. Perry falls into a funk and his whole life crumbles around him. He wins a trip to Australia at a bingo hall and decides that's his chance to get away from things. Needless to say, he's in for an adventure. He quickly learns that instead of the luxury trip he thinks he's won, he gets stuck with the cheapy bus trip that sums up a rule of thumb I've always gone by: never go on a trip won at a bingo hall. The tour finds Perry's luck to impact those around him as everything that can go wrong, does. After getting stranded in a remote hole with the rest of the zany characters, he's nearly killed by a crazed lunatic searching for his stash (stolen by the female lead that Perry is interested in (of course). With bad luck befalling all those around him, will Perry be able to turn his life around? Will he invent the color Siam Sunset which will improve life on Earth? You'll have to see the movie to find out but here's what the boxcover said about it all: "In the battle between Man and the Universe… Bet on the Universe…
Perry's perfect life – creating colors for a British paint company – has lately become one of constant misfortune. In desperation, he travels to one of the most desolate parts of Australia where he hopes to find a special color, called Siam Sunset, which could bring him great fortune and salvation. Along the way he meets Grace, a woman who seems to belong to a different world. Together, in the midst of the Australian outback, they decide to give life and maybe love, another chance. But will the wild universe they live in let them? A quirky comedy with just a twist of fantasy from one of today's most sought after directors."
Picture: The picture was presented in full frame, 1.33:1 ratio color. It looked okay for a low budget independent movie with some great scenery at times but nothing exceptional in either the source or dvd transfer.
Sound: The sound was presented in 2.0 Stereo English with no subtitles or other languages. Again, not bad although the music was often wildly out of place for the events on screen (part of that dark comedy charm I suppose).
Extras: none at all
Final Thoughts: If you like quirky dark comedies made in Australia, you'll probably like this one. The technical aspects of the movie, from the editing to the lighting to the soundtrack were all over the place in how well (or poorly) they were done but the overall effect was pretty good. This was billed as Director John Polson's first film and he was still learning his craft so the technical aspects are understandably of mixed quality. The dark humor, on the other hand, was very well presented and while the movie broke little new ground, it was easily worth a rental. Some fans of the genre might want to adjust that rating a bit higher but not me.