Empire of Dirt is a rather clichéd tale, the story of drop-out single mom Lena who, despite managing to get herself clean and working as a community leader for other struggling aboriginal youth, finds herself struggling to support her troubled teenage daughter. When her resources run out she returns to the town of her birth and reconnects with the family and friends she was once so quick to let go of as a pregnant teenage mother so many years ago.
Despite the trite storyline which neatly skips over the usual beats of the story, the movie is somewhat rescued by the lovely performance of its three leads. Newcomer Cara Gee appears in nearly every frame of the movie and acts natural and graceful and Shay Eyre as her teenage daughter Peeka matches her beat for beat with the two having a believable mother/daughter chemistry.
The movie is also lovingly shot and the camera luxuriates on the outdoor beauty of the town of Lena's birth.
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