Like many films set in Australia’s desolate Outback, the brilliantly tense Mystery Road is nothing short of gritty. Bleached colours adorned with a scorched tinge are nestled in amongst the fine cast of actors and their frequently furrowed brows and weathered lines.
Written and directed by Ivan Sen, the vision of such a disquieted situation is beautifully accom- plished, as the story focuses on Aaron Pedersen’s stoic portrayal of a detective digging deeply into the arcane murder of a teenage girl. Too deeply it seems, as feathers are ruffled, and threats are hidden in delectably written doublespeak.
The number of times that Sen removes Mystery Road from the beaten path, is evidence of his particular master stroke. Clearly delighting in aerial and luxurious wide shots (and they exist in abun- dance), eagle-eye angles of cars slicing through the empty, surrounding desolation meet frankly breathtakingly framed shots of our detective protagonist against the beating sun. Sen’s Mystery Road is a wonderful, realist thriller, kind on the eyes until the credits finally roll.