Mystery Road is a detective story that unspools with languid menace on the widescreen of the Australian Outback as a teenage Aboriginal girl is discovered with her throat slit in a concrete culvert beneath the highway near a truckstop. The local chumpy, white policemen don’t want to waste much time or energy on the case, but Aboriginal detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) has returned to his hometown with different views and is more sympathetic to the native, poverty-stricken community.
Wild dogs and wild men populate this modern western noir, written, directed and filmed by the talented Ivan Sen, who also composed the music. It’s a slow but satisfying build to the final shoot-out, as the story thrums through a flyblown, scuzzy, druggy world via the From Dusk till Dawn motel. Ivan Sen, 15, 121min