Sunday, 10 July 2016

Film Review: Goldstone

Goldstone is a hard-boiled Australian crime drama set in a rural Outback town of the same name; it sees director Ivan Sen refine his craft with a superior sequel to his 2013 film Mystery Road.

Living under the thumb of a powerful mining magnate (David Wenham), the townspeople of Goldstone aren't accustomed to rocking the boat, but that all changes when a rugged Indigenous detective by the name of Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) rolls into town in search of a missing persons. Swan doesn't so much rock the boat as he does capsize it, upending life in the quiet town for good as his enquiries set him on a war path with the corrupt town mayor (Jacki Weaver) and her police captain Josh (Alex Russell).

Sen splits the focus of Goldstone two ways; one path follows Swan as he cuts a path through the town, whilst the second follows Josh, the straight-as-an-arrow resident police officer who finds himself torn between his duty to the mayor and his duty to the law.

The two protagonists initially butt-heads; they're two dominant alphas who don't want to make room for anyone else. But as their plot threads diverge, intersect and crossover, it becomes increasingly evident that they need one another - for better or worse.

Both actors sell this macho mentality well, like two posturing gunslingers in the Old West who eventually have to set aside their differences. This begrudging respect and character dynamic is one of the more interesting and finer points with Goldstone, the other being the gorgeous camerawork and cinematography from

Although the landscape may feel alien to anyone outside Australia, the film is instantly recognizable through its familiar plot and themes. It might not exist on in a smoky San Francisco dive bar or an overcast Chicago street, but Goldstone is a hard-edged crime drama/western through and through, right down to the slimy capitalist devouring the natural landscape to the malicious mob boss who has the whole town wrapped around their little finger.

What gives Goldstone a rich Australian edge is its understanding and inclusion of Indigenous culture, whether its Detective Swan himself or the David Gulpilil's elder Jimmy. The latter makes a huge impression in his limited screen time, which showcases the strength of his performance and the writing.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

Nominated for Best Film earlier in the year at the Sydney Film Festival, Goldstone is an impressive progression from Ivan Sen, a refinement of his earlier work that is bolder and more confident. The solid plot is bolstered by a great ensemble and a firm hand on the rudder from Sen.

Goldstone is in cinemas across Australia now

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