The best thrillers utilise their surrounds as well as characters to create mood. Using the Australian outback to paint its mystery benefits ‘Goldstone’. The sequel to 2013’s ‘Mystery Road’ has a diverse range of nationalities headed by indigenous actor Aaron Pedersen. It makes a change from the infamous TV adaptations of Arthur Upfield’s half-Aboriginal police-man ‘Bony’ where white actors played black characters. ‘Goldstone’ discards such dubious tactics in favour of authenticity benefitting the realism for which ‘Goldstone’ strives.
Determined to re-focus his skills after various personal issues, indigenous Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) accepts an offer to help in a missing person case in the small town of Goldstone. Although clashing with the town’s cop Josh (Alex Russell), Jay tries to uncover clues. The task is made difficult due to the labyrinth of secrets and lies involving the Mayor (Jacki Weaver), mining boss Johnny (David Wenham) and locals including Jimmy (David Gulpilil). A simple case quickly escalates into something more as Jay’s life is threatened by those willing to keep deep secrets eternally buried.
Directed with low-key flair by Ivan Sen, ‘Goldstone’ is a slow-burning mystery. You are never quite sure which character to trust – including Swan. Searching for their motivations in their deeds is part of ‘Goldstones’ success as this unpredictability makes it engaging. Filming from his own script Sen cleverly uses Josh as a way in splitting the story in two as he and Swan separately find clues. Together they unearth all sorts of things with the various multi-national characters they meet adding flavour.
Much of the viewing pleasure in ‘Goldstone’ is the performances, which are first rate. Pedersen gives the right amount of world-weariness to his role, as Swan searches for his own identity whilst still on the case. He is more than ably assisted by Russell and Weaver who are both amazing as shady people with ulterior motives. The cinematography brings the stark outback to dazzling life with the score underlining the percolating menace looming large over Goldstone’s inhabitants.
‘Goldstone’ is a more than decent thriller making excellent use of the screenplay’s opportunities. There should be more genre local films like this in order to bring in audiences. Hopefully it is enough of a success to further continue what is shaping up to be an interesting series of gritty mysteries.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 8
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.