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Corruption and Aboriginal exploitation are rife in an Outback town, led by reptilian mayor Jacki Weaver, in Ivan Sen’s (Mystery Road) tense new thriller.

Image from Goldstone

Dir-Scr Ivan Sen
Prod David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin
With Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, Jacki Weaver
Australia 2016
Sales Arclight Films

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Ivan Sen, Director

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Ivan Sen delivers another layered and engrossing slow-burn thriller, reprising both the distinctive, ‘outback noir’ style of Mystery Road (LFF 2013), as well as its central character – troubled Indigenous Australian detective Joe Swan (the broody, charismatic Aaron Pedersen). On the desolate road into the mining town of Goldstone, Joe is arrested for drunk-driving by fresh-faced local cop Josh (Alex Russell). Joe is on the trail of a disappeared girl, but Josh is mistrustful and reluctant to help him on the case, yielding to the considerable, pie-baking sway of the corrupt local Mayor, Maureen (the brilliant, butter-wouldn’t-melt Jacki Weaver). When Joe’s investigations lead him to Furnace Creek mine, Josh is faced with a moral choice – help Joe, or collude with Maureen and the mine’s slippery manager, Johnny (David Wenham).

Cogently employing the device of the law-enforcement two-hander to prise open the film’s nail-biting narrative, Sen establishes both blackfella and whitefella perspectives to illuminate the social, economic and environmental factors that continue to corrode Australian Indigenous ‘country’. Sen’s vision is cohesively realised through his own writing, cinematography, editing and composing; a true filmmaking all-rounder, his cinema is both searing in its eloquence and steadfastly entertaining. Goldstone’s exceptional cast includes David Gulpilil, Tom E. Lewis and Cheng Pei-pei.

Clare Stewart

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Image from Goldstone

Image from Goldstone

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