Interesting, ununusual Australia-set cop drama
- Mystery Road review by PV
This film has NO subtitles available but possibly the quietest volume of any DVD I have ever watched - not a good combination!
Having said that, it is a highly interesting and unusual film, with a superbly understated performance by the main character, a mixed-race police officer.
The landscape of smalltown Australia (Queensland) and Aboriginal community issues make an unusual backdrop and a welcome change from the usual LA and New York set cop dramas and the endless harping on about racism in the USA.
Having said that, the film is confusing - it tries to pack too much in, with undeveloped subplots of a 'Hound of the Baskervilles' type dog, and what happens to the main character's daughter. The plot is at times vague and confused, involving missing Aboriginal girls, drug dealers, dog breeders etc in a way I never truly understood.
The end packs a punch, however unrealistically.
A movie I'd like to watch again (with subtitles!)
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
Not quite a thriller but very watchable
- Mystery Road review by AB
I liked this film - the setting was different, the main character had his own crosses to bear, home family troubles, his own people and colleagues didn't really like him but he was trying to do a professional job and the plotlines were very believable in such an out-of-the-way town. As others have described, some of the plotline strands didn't have an ending, which was mildly irritating, but this was a believable film, despite being not as thrilling as the description of 'thriller'. I had no problems with the sound nor the dialogue and a characterisation plot twist at the end in the denouement wasn't seen by me.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Doom And Gloom Down Under
- Mystery Road review by Count Otto Black
This is a thriller which makes the serious mistake of not actually being thrilling until the last 15 minutes, before which almost nothing happens. The previous reviewer mentioned a problem with the sound which I personally didn't experience, so maybe there's one defective DVD out there, but I could have done with subtitles anyway because the thick Australian accents are at times hard to understand. But more importantly, almost nobody in this film is even remotely likable. The hero is a bit of a nonentity who we're supposed to automatically like because he's a black man in a racist society standing up for what's right, but that's no substitute for good scriptwriting, and virtually everybody he meets is either irritating or evil.
There's also a major problem with the crimes he's trying to solve. We're expected to care about murder victims we know almost nothing about, including a dead cop who isn't in the film at all, there's something about drugs which the hero eventually finds, apparently by magic, by which time I'd forgotten why they were supposed to matter, and a very weird subplot about hunting humans with genetically modified superdogs is repeatedly hinted at right from the beginning but goes literally nowhere at all, presumably because at the last minute it turned out to be too expensive to show on screen. Aaron Pedersen is probably a good actor, but the script gives him far too little to work with. It's the kind of movie in which howling great clues are clumsily signposted early on, then not mentioned again until the very end, by which time we need to stop and think why we're supposed to remember this detail which, the way things work out, doesn't really matter anyway, except to indicate that the people we've just found out are guilty are in fact even more guilty of the same crimes.
This is a slow, dull film with an abysmal script which I would have rated even lower if its heart wasn't clearly in the right place. If you specifically want to watch a thriller about endemic racism in the Australian police force (a rather small genre, but each to his own), you'd probably have much more fun with "Red Hill", which may not be the best movie in world, but definitely does what it says on the tin, and doesn't make you wait almost two hours before the bullets start flying. By the way, if you're the kind of scriptwriter who has the hero arrange to meet some people at Slaughter Hill near Mystery Road to sort out a crime that occurred at Massacre Creek, you really ought to be writing scripts which contain at least one deliberate joke.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.