Mystery Road is a neo-noir from Australian written and directed by Ivan Sen. Sen is an up and coming director in Australia who was able to get an all-star cast to do this film with him. Our lead is Aaron Pedersen as an indigenous detective who has returned to his home town after 10 years of working and training as a detective elsewhere. The two biggest names for American audiences will be Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten. Hugo Weaving has a role as a hardboiled detective who has been on the force for a while. Ryan Kwanten plays a smaller role but it is a very interesting one. Bruce Spence of Mad Max movie fame plays a small role of a coroner.
Our story starts with a trucker stopping along side the road, hears something strange…maybe a dog…a big wild dog? He follows the noise and finds a body of a young girl. Our detective comes on the scene to start the investigation. He knows the girl as a friend of his young daughter. As our story continues, he is worried for his daughter’s safety. The mystery grows deeper as he uncovers drugs, corrupt cops and prostitution.
This movie shows a lot of the racism in Australia towards the Aborigines as our hero has to work with a white police force and try to gain the trust of his fellow Aborigines, all while he tries to solve the murder of this young girl.
This film has a great look with its desert landscapes, small town flavor, and ghetto like living of some of its citizens.
This film starts out with a bang, and then slowly burns to an explosion of an ending. I enjoyed this film with its very noir story where we never know what quite is going on and where it is going. We may still feel that way when it is all over as well. This film is worth a look for any noir fan or those that just want an interesting view of the Australian outback.
Favorite Tidbit: Samara Weaving has a cameo as a police officer’s wife. She is the niece of Hugo Weaving. Looks like acting runs in the family.