THERE'S plenty of dramatic gold to be mined from director Ivan Sen's follow-up to Mystery Road, Goldstone.
Aaron Pedersen returns to his acclaimed role as Indigenous detective Jay Swan, this time starring opposite rising actor Alex Russell and screen veterans Jacki Weaver, David Wenham and David Gulpilil.
Sen deftly wraps up some inconvenient truths about the mining industry's impact on Aboriginal land rights and culture within this procedural thriller.
Pedersen's Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing person enquiry.
But he's not exactly in top form, having turned to the bottle in the wake of his teenage daughter's death.
What seems like a simple, light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption which has been bubbling away right under the nose of local cop Josh (Alex Russell).
Pedersen and Russell have great chemistry as the two cops who are brought together by unlikely circumstances.
The men don't always need to say many lines to say something meaningful and there are some great scenes filled with tension and raw emotion that are verbally sparse just like the beautiful Outback landscape.
Jacki Weaver and David Wenham, as two of the town's more sinister influences, are both excellent in an extremely creepy way.
Weaver is imposing in many of her scenes with Pedersen and Russell, despite her small frame, with her bright white smile masking a scorpion-like sting.
The film takes a while to build to the final showdown but it's worth the wait. This is the sort of well-made Australian drama we, as cinema-goers, need to support.
Stars: Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, Jacki Weaver, David Wenham, David Gulpilil, Michelle Lim Davidson.
Director: Ivan Sen
Verdict: 3.5/5 stars
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