Rikky and Pete
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // $14.94 // November 15, 2005
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted November 20, 2005
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The Movie

One thing Australia is known for is its "quirky" population for wiseguys, dreamers, and amiable misfits. That's what we see in all their movies, anyway. Rustic, sweaty, hard-working folks with a good sense of humor, a strong love of beer, and even crazy "quirks" to fill a kangaroo's pouch.

You certainly wouldn't find any argument from Nadia Tass' low-key and strangely likable Rikky and Pete. As an indie-style outback travelogue / oddball character study, it delivers precisely what it promises: Weirdly endearing and free-spirited characters wandering through the lovely, wide-open expanse of the Australian outback.

Pete's a snarky little man-child who won't hold a normal job, but craft elaborate machinery with the greatest of ease. Using his home-made paper-flinger, Pete spends his time as a delivery boy. And when he's not working, he's playfully torturing the local police chief. (Why Pete hates the Police Chief is a story unto itself.)

After a particularly loud and destructive prank, Pete decides he needs to hit the deep outback and lay low for a while. Along for the side is his ever-singin' sister Rikky, and their grandmother's vintage Rolls Royce. If by now you're expecting both Pete and Rikky to eventually come across a wide variety of lovably off-kilter characters and strangely surreal situations, well, you'd be right.

It's not an especially hypnotic or revolutionary tale, but Rikky and Pete works just fine as a character-intensive indie from the land down under. The actors are rough but engaging, the colorful locales keep popping up, and there's just enough humor to keep us chugging along. Plus it wraps up with a pretty sweet finale (that involves explosions!), so if you happen to get into the characters, you'll be rewarded with a few smiles.

The DVD

Video: It's a full frame transfer, and it looks precisely like an Aussie indie from 1988.

Audio: Dolby Digital Surround, with optional subtitles in English & French ... for those who don't understand Orstralyan.

Extras: A few trailers for Creature Comforts, It's All Gone, Pete Tong, and Stander. Final Thoughts

I've always been a sucker for the Australian movies, and this one's a mellow and endearing little affair. It doesn't psycho-babble or meander, it's fairly amusing throughout, and it ends precisely when it ought to.



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