Rather, this Paris is in New South Wales, Australia. And the cars don't really eat it, either. The residents of the town do. Er, they eat the visitors to the town. Er, they don't eat them... ah, skip it. Let's start again.
Peter Weir, who has directed some of the most enduring works on film (Dead Poets Society, Witness), has also created some of its oddest (The Last Wave, Picnic at Hanging Rock). The Cars That Ate Paris definitely falls into the latter, an early work about a creepy little town which has an economy supported by the intentional crashing of cars that happen to pass through. The residents then descend on the cars, pick them clean, sell off the salvaged bits, and bury the dead. They also hold impromptu demolition derbies with the stripped-down vehicles that remain.
Eventually, one passerby survives, and he uncovers all of this after the mayor -- deeming him of no account -- tells him he has to work as an orderly in the hospital, never to leave Paris again. But the little scam catches up with the town in the end (damn kids!), and it all come crashing down.
Creepy towns with dirty little secrets have been done before (U Turn, The Stepford Wives, The Spring, and God knows how many others), and Weir's effort unfortunately does little for the genre. The characters are uniformly drab, and their little scam is uninteresting in the slightest. Crashing cars to steal their hubcaps? How penny ante can you get?
The DVD includes an interview with Weir and also adds The Plumber, an Aussie TV thriller that aired "circa" 1979 (amazing, no one remembers exactly when).
Production compaines: Royce Smeal Film Productions, Salt-Pan
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Director: Peter Weir
Screenwriter: Peter Weir
Starring: John Meillon as The Mayor, Terry Camilleri as Arthur Waldo, Kevin Miles as Dr. Midland, Max Gillies as Metcalfe, Rick Scully as George Waldo, Danny Adcock as Policeman, Bruce Spence as Charlie, Kevin Golsby as Insurance Man, Chris Haywood as Darryl, Peter Armstrong as Gorman, Joe Burrow as Ganger, Deryck Barnes as Al Smedley, Edward Howell as Tringham, Max Phipps as Mulray, Melissa Jaffer as Beth