Lucky Country

Year: 2009
Director: Kriv Stenders
Writer: Andy Cox
Cast: Aden Young, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence

This film was a good-looking idea that ultimately went down a black hole of it's own convoluted making. Everything about it looked great, but if the story of a family under siege in turn of the century rural Australia had been written with more commercial appeal it would have been much more successful creatively.

Nat (Young) lives in a shack with his family trying to carve a slice of heaven out of the unforgiving Australian bush. But the land has extracted a heavy price, with the death of his wife, then the loss of their horse, and prospects for the future looking increasingly bleak.

The zealot-like but crumbling patriarch contends that God will provide, but even his teenaged children are starting to challenge him, realising their plight is suicide unless they leave.

Three strangers arrive with enigmatic tales of the Boer war and nearby gold rush but it's obvious they have nefarious hidden agendas by the undercurrent of tension bubbling just underneath dialogue with each other and the family.

Proverbial wedges are driven between everyone and battle lines drawn, and when the whole thing blows up the now-exposed hidden agendas don't make much sense, leaching all the tension the mood and setting has been careful to build up out.

Like many of its contemporaries coming from of Australian filmmakers right now, everything about it looks fantastic on screen from the performances to the set dressing and design. It just needed a far more interesting story and resolution to bring it all together.

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