The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s.
A former British Army officer, who was tortured as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II, discovers that the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him.
A drama centered on the romance between Ernest Hemingway and World War II correspondent Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway's inspiration for For Whom the Bell Tolls, and the only woman who ever asked for a divorce from the writer.
Newcomers to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari, Catherine and Matthew Parker's lives are flung into crisis when they discover their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits. With Nathgari eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the townsfolk join the search led by local cop, David Rae. It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to Tommy and Lily. Suspicions run riot, rumours spread and public opinion turns savagely against the Parkers. With temperatures rising and the chances of survival plummeting with each passing day, Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink as they struggle to survive the mystery of their children's fate.Written by
A film that for its entirety is crying out for a satisfying ending to make all that has come to pass worthwhile, Strangerland fails at its final hurdle and becomes a tale with huge potential that remains left in the dusty plains of the outback wherein the stories mysteries lie.
Strangerland is most certainly a unique disappearance mystery, a strange hybrid of domestic drama moulded into the intrigue of just what happened to the two Parker children, last seen wandering off into the great unknowns of outback Australia, but despite consistently threatening to become a great addition to the recently mostly barren Australian cinema classic handbook, Kim Farrant's film just can't gel into something totally recommendable or overly memorable.
First time director Farrant does show glimpses of a filmmaking talent, her images of the land and direction of some of her actors is of a high order and Strangerland's tone is often nerve rackingly eerie and there's an air of dread that permeates through most of film. From Maddison Brown's performance as promiscuous teen Lili, the town of Nathgari itself and the looming shadow of the barren landscape that surrounds our characters mixed with Keefus Ciancia's atmospheric score, all combine to give Strangerland a unique identity worthy of lead Nicole Kidman's committed turn.
In the doldrums for some time now it's great to see Kidman showcase her considerable talents once more with a layered turn as the conflicted mother of the lost children Catherine Parker. Kidman's performance is both brave and unflattering and she's a highlight of Strangerland's ensemble. Ably supported by the evergreen Hugo Weaving as the local detective, Kidman elevates the film despite the overplayed presence of a distracting Joseph Fiennes who once again reminds us as to why his been largely forgotten about since his appearance in Shakespeare in Love. Young Australian performer Meyne Wyatt is also worthy of a mention in his role as young Aboriginal local Burtie.
Strangerland has moments; it also sucks you into its mysterious centre only to drop the bundle in the films last act. If Strangerland had in fact had a better catch on its hook it could've quite easily become one of, if not the Australian film of the year but as it stands it's going to be remembered only for a timely reminder that Nicole Kidman can in fact act and lead a film. A disappointing result for a film that just might have been.
2 ½ high quality skate parks out of 5
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