Australian filmmaker Ivan Sen writes, directs, photographs, scores, and edits his latest film, Mystery Road, revealing him to be a jack of all trades and master of… some.

Clearly inspired by Westerns, Sen’s impressive cinematography captures the austere beauty of the outback while his script confronts difficult topics with sincerity, especially the treatment of Australia’s indigenous peoples in contemporary society.

However, the dialogue is dull and the acting unengaging, with lead Pedersen lacking charisma and Weaving seemingly there out of patriotic duty. Most tedious is the excruciatingly slow and repetitive editing that makes simple conversations last for eternity.

Beautiful visuals and social consciousness are not enough to maintain interest in an otherwise uninvolving police procedural. A slow-burn thriller that never really ignites, Mystery Road leads to a dead end.

Rating: 2/5


CAST: Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, David Field


WRITER: Ivan Sen

SYNOPSIS: An indigenous cop investigates the case of a murdered girl while facing prejudice and distrust from the local community.