In his astonishing and mesmerising new film, Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds; Dreamland;Toomelah, SFF Official Competition 2011) uses the conventions of the Western and the police procedural in a subtle examination of the social and political context of a small town in the Australian Outback.
Indigenous detective Jay Swan (an impressive Aaron Pedersen) returns to his remote hometown and his first case is the murder of a teenage girl. Having spent a considerable amount of time in the big city, when Jay returns he is alienated from both the police force and his community, including his own daughter. Though thwarted in his investigations by a lack of cooperation from the locals, and a lack of interest from his fellow cops, Jay gradually unravels a complex crime web.
Directing a stellar Australian cast including Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson, Tasma Walton, Damian Walshe-Howling and Samara Weaving, Sen has made a suspenseful and intelligent mystery aided by terrific performances. The Outback, in all its widescreen glory, plays its part too. Showing himself to be as astute at directing action scenes as he is at making incisive social commentary, the multi-talented Sen’s Mystery Roadis all the more remarkable given that he directed, wrote, shot, edited and scored the film.
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