Cinematography by Ivan Sen.

Reviewed by James Cunningham at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival.


Ivan Sen’s new feature is a complex, stylish and intelligent western that reflects on Australia’s history with a compelling tale of its present. 

Australian auteur Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds, Mystery Road) wrote, shot, edited and scored his new offering, Goldstone. The ‘outback noir’ thriller/western follows the same character, Jay Swan, as Mystery Road (2013). A beautiful-looking, complex, stylish and intelligent film that reflects on Australia’s history with a compelling tale of its present.

On the trail of a missing person, Indigenous Detective Swan (Aaron Pedersen) finds himself in the small mining town of Goldstone, where he is immediately arrested for drunk driving by young local cop Josh (Alex Russell). When Jay’s motel room is blasted with gunfire, it becomes clear that something larger is at play in the district. 

Jay and Josh struggle to overcome their mutual distrust to uncover the unpleasant truth. Sen, who also shot the film, takes full advantage of the beauty of the outback without shying away from the scars it bears – both societal and environmental. The film weaves through a range of issues, including; land rights, mining, the stolen generations, cultural destruction, people trafficking, greed, loneliness and love.

Filmed in Queensland, Goldstone’s scenery of the iconic Australian outback sets a flawless backdrop for the narrative, and Sen is masterful in his filmic choices. With an all-star cast including Jacki Weaver, David Denham and David Gulpilil, Goldstone takes full advantage of the beauty of the outback without shying away from the scars it bears, both societal and environmental.


James Cunningham is the Editor of Australian Cinematographer Magazine.

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