Film Review: Strangerland

Cinematography by P.J. Dillon ISC.

Review by James Cunningham.

Striking cinematography by Irish-born PJ Dillion (New Boy, Vikings) isn’t enough to rescue Kim Farrant’s feature debut Strangerland from its passionless narrative and bland reality.

Catherine (Nicole Kidman) and Matthew (Joseph Finnes) are newcomers to Nathagari a remote, fictional remote Australian town. Their strained marriage and parenting of troublesome teens is pushed to its overstated limits when the children go missing during a dust storm.

Australian cinema has a dear place for ‘lost in the wilderness’ films, yet they rely on a humble and detailed approach. All the elements seem at odds in Strangerland, it has a false modesty that is difficult to stomach and can’t seem to figure what it is.

Light is natural and justified. Throughout the film light is soft and diffused, shadows are rare but well employed creating an elegant and calm atmosphere. This is in contrast with the characters of the story.

James Cunningham is the Editor of Australian Cinematographer Magazine.

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