CALIFORNIA SOLO (Marshall Lewy). 94 minutes. Opens Friday (March 1). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
California Solo is a small film with a huge performance by the great Robert Carlyle.
The Glaswegian actor plays Lachlan, once the guitarist in British cult favourite rock band the Cranks, who's moved to California, where he works on an organic farm.
After a drunk driving charge that imperils his immigration status leaves him struggling to stay in the U.S., the reasons for his nightly podcast about dead rock stars and terror of returning home are gradually revealed.
Kathleen Wilhoite is terrific as his leery American ex-wife who resists pretending to the authorities that she really needs Lachlan to remain in the U.S., and Alexia Rasmussen turns up as a brief love interest in a story that isn't exactly complex.
But to its credit, the narrative doesn't go to the obvious place, and Carlyle - who seems to have dropped off the big-screen map after being in practically everything during the 90s - is gloriously gloomy yet charming as the guy not especially excited about having to face his demons.
California Solo is worth checking out for him alone.