A sexually precocious 15-year-old girl and her younger brother go missing one night from a remote Outback town in tightly wound Australian mystery thriller Strangerland. Where did they go? And what secrets lie behind their disappearance?
Director Kim Farrant’s film is a little overwrought in places, dropping hints of Aboriginal mysticism that don’t really go anywhere and falling short of the eerie enigma of Picnic at Hanging Rock (opens in new tab). But the performances keep us gripped.
Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes are excellent as the children’s frantic parents; their brittle marriage ready to snap. Hugo Weaving is typically dependable as the dogged local detective. And teenage model-turned-actress Maddison Brown makes a striking feature film debut as the wayward daughter. Yet it’s the parched Outback landscape, thrumming with beauty and menace, that leaves the biggest impression.
Certificate 15. Runtime 107 mins. Director Kim Farrant
Strangerland debuts today on Sky Cinema Premiere (opens in new tab) at 1.40pm & 9.45pm and is available on DVD from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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