Directed by Dean Charles
Written by Owen Mowatt
Starring Neil Reidman, Naomi Ryan & Roger Griffiths
Review by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm
Written by Owen Mowatt and directed by Dean Charles, Hard Time Bus is a romantic drama following the (mainly) lows of Mark Bishop. After a rude awakening and what seems like a series of bad dreams, Mark (Neil Reidman) is brought back to reality with a bump. This causes him to make the hasty and forced decision to start making plans to marry devoted girlfriend, Denise (Naomi Ryan). After discovering his friend’s feelings towards his decision, his newfound direction opens his eyes to the life he led and the friends he thought he knew. He turns to best friend Fitzy (Roger Griffiths) for advice on what he should do next, only to be ridiculed for not following the Fitzy Rules: never marry and never settle.
While all this is going on, Mark might already be too late as he learns that Denise has already caught the eye of a possible new suitor and is seriously considering a different proposal. Pool, alcohol and young “tings” are all that he and his friends can focus on.
After living a life of carefree apathy and complacency, the years finally catch up with him, especially after news of his friend Shaun (Bailey Patrick) falls on hard times. Mark receives an overdue wakeup call and now faces a race against time to prove to Denise that he is worthy, but has it all come too late? And what will it take for him to get his life back on track?
I did find this film enjoyable and relatively easy to watch, however as no film is perfect, there are a few negatives. It does seem that some parts might have either been unnecessarily stretched or could have been left out of the final cut altogether. There were also a few instances where characters with the main purpose of helping the plot along have such a forced performance, it does temporarily ruin any creation of atmosphere. That being said, Reidman’s performance as leading man is very well done and he does a very good job of pulling in the audience into Mark’s conundrums.
Overall, this is a well-made tale reminding us to take care and remember what is truly important to us, before the chance to keep hold of them slips away. Otherwise, someone else might swoop in and take it from beneath your nose.