Review of Bosch & Rockit – a sentimental and corny drama from Byron Bay | australian movie

HAfter racking up bad debts and upsetting the wrong people, a protagonist with a habit of making bad decisions runs away and moves to a small town, hoping to start afresh – until the past inevitably catches up with him. This evergreen story trajectory is reworked once again, in Tyler Atkins’ sickening and sometimes cheesy film, Bosch & Rockit. Opening with the words “inspired by real events”, Atkins goes on to demonstrate why these words tend to mean very little: a well-designed, entirely fictional feature can seem far more plausible than a clumsily executed feature – like Bosch & Rockit – claiming some connection to reality.

As the run begins, the titular father (Bosch) and son (Rockit), played by Luke Hemsworth and Rasmus King, hit the beach, catching the waves in a tender scene bathed in the first light of dawn, piano keys and string instruments providing soft orchestral accompaniment. As if the moment wasn’t idyllic enough, Atkins cuts to a pod of dolphins in the water, swimming in unison.

Right after that… the shark attacks! I laugh; it’s a different movie and I might have enjoyed it more. And yes, I did that exactly the same joke (except it was a crocodile instead of a shark) in my review of the coming-of-age drama 6 Festivals, which also stars King. My intention is not to repeat myself but to make the link between the gooey sentimentality of the two films. King is a dynamic presence with great potential and an uncanny ability to appear healthy despite his exposure to dangerous amounts of cheese. The flaws in these two movies aren’t his – and the same can be said of Hemsworth, who won’t win any acting awards as Bosch but is still compelling as a stubborn and selfish, yet saucy guy.

While 6 Festivals is still tasteless, some of the dialogue exchanges in Bosch & Rockit feel like they belong in different films. Sometimes the characters speak as if they were relatives of Johnny “Spit” Spitieri of Gettin’ Square. In one scene, Bosch cuts himself off and exclaims, “Oh, fucking jerk!” Young Rockit hears him and replies, “Oy, asshole, look at your fucking tongue!”

At other times, the dialogue is closer to the tone of Nicholas Sparks. “I made a lot of mistakes but you’re the best thing that ever happened to me,” Bosch told his son in one scene. In another, Rockit explains where his name comes from, stating “My dad likes to say it’s because I’m out of this world.” Cringe.

‘A vibrant presence with great potential’ … Rasmus King. Photography: Crazy

Bosch is a drug dealer and surfer who leaves town, Rockit in tow, when a bushfire hits his property and he loses his stash. The couple’s relocation to Byron Bay is a significant event in their lives, but there’s little sense of the stakes, and to audiences it seems the film is simply trading one scenic coastal location for another.

Atkins uses these settings as a nice scaffolding for otherwise ordinary scenes — like Rockit eating hot fries with a love interest named Ash-Ash (Savannah La Rain). Immediately after, Atkins cuts to a pair of whales spinning majestically in the water. The director dazzles, in other words. But it gets worse: The young couple continue to talk until dusk, under an orange-pink sky, with Ash-Ash giving a sad speech about never having met his father and the fact that his birth mother “fallen really sick and couldn’t take care of me”.

At this point, after being exposed to so many dolphins and whales, and all that rosy-eyed dialogue, I thought I couldn’t be surprised at how corny this movie was anymore. I was wrong. The scene ends with Rockit asking Ash-Ash to “stay around a little longer – until we catch a shooting star”.