Here’s an overlooked gem — a low-budget Australian end-of-the-world drama that kind of mixes “On the Beach” with a taste of “Mad Max.” After an asteroid lands in the North Atlantic, a firestorm of destruction moves around the world, wiping out the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, with the last stop on the road to total destruction being Australia. With just 12 hours left to go before the end of the world, the citizens of Perth celebrate in a variety of ways: murder, suicide, sexual perversions and a gigantic party to end all parties. One such partygoer is James (Nathan Phillips), a self-absorbed hooligan who leaves his pregnant girlfriend to meet up with his mates at an end-of-the-world affair. As he travels through the now lawless and chaotic city, he meets all sorts of unsavory situations and characters, eventually saving a little girl from a pair of predators. The girl begs him to help her find her father — whom she was separated from — and James — against his “better” judgement — takes her with him. He ends up at the party — a debauched orgy of Russian roulette, sex and drugs — but discovers that there’s a better way in which to celebrate the end of existence. Despite some predictable and sentimental situations, this is an absorbing look at human nature under fire (so to speak), with beautiful moments co-existing with the ugly (just like in real life). The movie sputters here and there but overall it’s a riveting, straight ahead trip through a blood-soaked world that, despite its shortcomings, offers redemption. An auspicious outing from young Australian director-writer Zak Hilditch (with superb cinematography by Bonnie Elliott). Highly recommended. Vitals: Director: Zak Hilditch. Stars: Nathan Phillips, Sarah Snook, Angourie Rice, Jessica de Gouw, Kathryn Beck, Daniel Henshall, Lynette Curran. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 87 min., Drama, Well Go USA.